Lignocaine, which is otherwise an excellent drug, falls short of an ideal local anaesthetic because its toxicity restricts liberal use and has caused a number of deaths.1 Although these deaths are rare and mostly caused by accidental overdosage, faulty technique or a lack of appreciation of the factors which determine the maximum safe dose, many clinicians would welcome an even less toxic agent. Astra, the Swedish firm which first made lignocaine, last year introduced prilocaine (Citanest - Astra-Hewlett) which is chemically related to lignocaine and claimed to be as effective, but less toxic.2 Lignocaine is not patented in Great Britain, but in a number of other countries Astra's patent rights on the drug will run out during 1965.
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