Lidocaine stabilizes the neuronal membrane by inhibiting the ionic fluxes required for the initiation and conduction of impulses thereby effecting local anesthetic action. Lidocaine alters signal conduction in neurons by blocking the fast voltage gated sodium (Na+) channels in the neuronal cell membrane that are responsible for signal propagation. With sufficient blockage the membrane of the postsynaptic neuron will not depolarize and will thus fail to transmit an action potential. This creates the anaesthetic effect by not merely preventing pain signals from propagating to the brain but by aborting their birth in the first place.
Lidocaine is an anesthetic agent indicated for production of local or regional anesthesia and in the treatment of ventricular tachycardia occurring during cardiac manipulation, such as surgery or catheterization, or which may occur during acute myocardial infarction, digitalis toxicity, or other cardiac diseases. The mode of action of the antiarrhythmic effect of Lidocaine appears to be similar to that of procaine, procainamide and quinidine. Ventricular excitability is depressed and the stimulation threshold of the ventricle is increased during diastole. The sinoatrial node is, however, unaffected. In contrast to the latter 3 drugs, Lidocaine in therapeutic doses does not produce a significant decrease in arterial pressure or in cardiac contractile force. In larger doses, lidocaine may produce circulatory depression, but the magnitude of the change is less than that found with comparable doses of procainamide.
The oral LD 50 of lidocaine HCl in non-fasted female rats is 459 (346-773) mg/kg (as the salt) and 214 (159-324) mg/kg (as the salt) in fasted female rats. Symptoms of overdose include convulsions, hypoxia, acidosis, bradycardia, arrhythmias and cardiac arrest.