Pramoxine hydrochloride is used as a topical anesthetic to relieve mild pain and itching. The drug was discovered in 1953 at Abbott Laboratories. The trade name of pramoxine hydrochloride is Pramocaine.
Structurally, it is the esther hydrochloride of p-n butoxyphenyl gammamorpholinopropane. The substance stood out as a good topical local anesthetic agent when Abbott Laboratories were researching a series of alkoxy aryl alkamine ethers for such an application. Pramocaine is tolerable by most mucus membranes and ranks low on the sensitizing index, making it unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction.
The high potency and low acute and sub-acute toxicity of Pramocaine have popularized its usage in over-the-counter itching creams and sunburn lotions. It may also be used in treating rectal irritations. The drug is sometimes administered in a spray or wipe form.
Pramocaine works by lowering the permeability of neuron membranes to sodium ions. This blocks the initiation and conduction of the nerve impulses that cause sensations of pain. The application of Pramocaine is usually prescribed 3-4 times daily. Although allergic reactions are uncommon, they may sometimes manifest in the form of dryness, burning, stinging, bleeding, hives, skin rash, itching and swelling. This medication should be stored in an airtight container out of reach of children.