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Overdose of Novacane??

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Old 08-09-2002, 11:07 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2002
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zabilka HB User
Post Overdose of Novacane??

My wife recently went to a Dentist for a scaling of her teeth and after her first shot of novacane informed the dentist that she was feeling numbness in her extremities and asked him to stop. The dentist continued with 3 more shots and my wife could barely breath, she was rushed to the hospital by ambulance with her heart rate dropping to 40. She has been weak with no energy since this has happened.

Does anyone know what could cause this type of reaction?

Thank you,


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Old 08-10-2002, 07:22 AM   #2
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Mark, this sounds so awful!!! I have problems with a delayed reaction when given novacaine. But never anything like what you decribed....For me I have to go in to the dentist one hour prior to my appt. and they give me one shot...then when my appt. time comes it finally has started working. Before I had to have so many shots to numb the area, it took all day just to start wearing off....It definately sounds like your wife had an allergic reaction...why didn't the dentist stop when she told him too? You should sent him the ER bill...Diana

Old 08-10-2002, 07:37 AM   #3
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HUm this is strange, I have had many novacane shots in my mouth with out any problems but one time I had to have one in my back. The doctor was numbing my back with novacane so he could give me eperderial injection for pain. Anyway the novacane shot did the same thing you described happen to your wife. First my arms and legs went numb then my whole body and then I could barely breathe. Lucky for me the hospital was right across the street and the doctor had to pick me up off the floor and threw me in a wheel chair and ran me across the street to the ER. I was told I had alergic reaction but I don't think I did since like I said I have had many shots like that in my mouth. I think the doctor hit a blood vein and the novacane went thru my body and just numb me all over. After 12 hours in ER and over night stay in hospital nurse told me I almost died cause my heart was barely beating. After 24 hours I was ok and had no after effects. Sorry that happened to your wife and I hope that never happens to her wishes..


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Old 08-17-2002, 03:42 PM   #4
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Jim HB User

Hi Sher; I had a talk with my dentist years ago about novacane injections, he made the comment that a injection in the wrong place (in a nerve bundle area) could have one ending up with permanent loss of feeling in a related area of your face.

Old 08-18-2002, 03:29 PM   #5
chica loca
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Perhaps an allergic reaction? Or they hit a nerve that influences the heart and a person's breathing?

It would be worthwhile definitely to get to the source of what caused the problems which seemed life-threatening.

I had my first taste of novocaine(which actually has been replaced by other locals) and it doesn't taste quite as bad as the old stuff!

Old 08-18-2002, 11:50 PM   #6
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donald456 HB User

Hi--here's a thought, novacaine if they gave it without the epinephrine which some dentists do the novacaine spreads quickly throughout the body affecting especially the bloodpressure and the sensorum. Sensorum I mean a persons general perception of the environment a panicky detached sensation quickly envelopes the person which is quite alarming if you aren't aware of the fact that it's the anesthetic effect on the central nervous system. The epinenephrine is the vasoconstrictor which stabilizes the novacaine at the injection site. I once was on a med that epinephrine was contraindicated so I've had numerous times when I've experienced this phenomena. Immediately after the shot I'd feel a large rush through my entire body, all my muscles whould go limb, my heart beat would immediately become irregular but the worse aspect was the sudden panic that came over me as I felt completely detached from reality. I also would have a high degree of facial flushing which was not uncomfortable but very alarming to look at. I many times wondered how in the world they let me just walk out of the office I couldn't even feel the floor. The hardest part was that without the epinephrine the anesthetic effect waned so quickly I had to have another shot every few minutes as it wore off ""disseminated throughout the body actually"" so quickly. Finally I was able to convince them that epinephrine with my meds was not totally contra-indicated as I read up on it but just a precaution, they decided to go ahead and use the epinephrine , it worked great 2 shots at first numb for the entire procedure no side-effects whatsoever, it was a huge relief . Using the novacaine ""actually bupivacaine"" without the epinephrine was simply way too dangerous. Just thought I mention my situation as it seemed quite similiar to yours !!!

Old 08-19-2002, 12:34 PM   #7
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Another suggestion- true lidocaine allergies are quite rare, but allergies to the preservatives used in most local anesthetics aren't. If they tell you that your wife is not allergic to lidocaine or whatever they used, make sure you find out what the preservatives were and get her tested for allergies to those. Allergies to those can be quite severe, and she needs to know. Those preservatives are used in several meds, and to protect herself in the future you need to be certain she can inform all of her future doctors.

Hope you find an answer

Old 08-19-2002, 12:46 PM   #8
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hi just a short story just over 3 years ago, after having the same shot, l felt ill l was shaken, dizzy, felt sick, my legs and whole body felt like they were vibrating like mad, the sweat was pouring off me l was really ill for about 5 hours afterwards my partner rang the dentist and he said although rare l may be allergic to the shot another possibility was that the adrenalin in the shot had got into my blood stream and been a nervous patient it had went wild, the dentist agreed not to use the same kind of shots which have adrenalin in them again and to use something else....... and i aint been back since l am absolutely terrified now and do not want to go there ever again. l thought ld die that day and what made it worse was the female dentist and nurse who were with me started talking about resusitating people and asking me if l had any illnesses and went on to describe experiences she had seen with other people which of course made me worse, well that short story certainly went on lol sorry. l hope your wifes ok and everyone else whose had the misfortune of this dreadful experience take care
ps l had had the same shots in the past with no problems and was told reactions can come at anytime not always with the first ever shot

[This message has been edited by niecsey (edited 08-19-2002).]

Old 04-27-2005, 07:23 AM   #9
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lizluxton HB User
Re: Overdose of Novacane??

Wow! I thought this only happened to my husband. You see a few weeks ago my husband went to the dentist for a simple cleaning. I guess because of some "new" tool they are using they had to freeze him. They kept saying his tongue wasn't numb so they kept giving him more novacane. He ended up having more then 6 shots in the span of 30 minutes. He started complaining of headache but they thought nothing of it. So he drove himself home. Well he was so out of it by that time that he drove his truck right into our garden. By the time I got home he was passed out on the bathroom floor. When I finally woke him up he didn't know who I was... I called 911 and they admitted him to the hospital. The doctor said the dentist must have overdosed him with novacane & it made his nervous system shut down. He almost died. He stayed in the hospital that day of course and now he is fine. But boy was that scary. When I talked to the dentist he said nothing they did could have caused this but frankly he probably just didn't want to get sued. These are peoples lives they are dealing with, you would think the dentist would have been more careful!!!!

Old 04-27-2005, 07:41 AM   #10
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Re: Overdose of Novacane??

Oh wow--I had no idea an overdose of novocaine was possible! That is VERY scary--because the last time I got fillings done (at a dentist place I am not ever going back to) they numbed me THREE times in the same area and I had to wonder why...I had had deep fillings done before and 2 at most is what they'd use...well, immediately after the shots I felt shaky all over...Ithought maybe I was just nervous or something but I could NOT stop my hands and arms from heart felt a bit racy but I thought it might have just been the adrenaline rush you get after the shot....while I didn't have any reactions that your wife had, Mark and others, I did hurt for a long time in that area where they numbed me and the pain radiates to the entire area that they numbed me in...they are now saying "You just need a root canal" which I don't trust since the percussion test in that area they did didn't even hurt as bad as some of the other cavities I had filled that were deep by them (different dr there , though), and yet they say for this particular area they just want to root canal it...that doesnt seem right to me. It's like they are covering up something--why, if you hurt in the area they numb you in, would a root canal suddenly be the only answer?

Just like when they said to you,lizluxton, that nothing "they" did could've caused it...I am so sure!! A lot of needle points in your mouth can't be a good thing....and I guess it is possible for anything you inject to be overdosed on....after all it is going to your blood stream isn't it?
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Old 04-27-2005, 11:53 PM   #11
Tick Tock
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Re: Overdose of Novacane??

That does sound like an allergic reaction. Did they treat her at the hospital with Bendryl (or other antihistamine) and/or steroids?

Here's some other info. I think this is ok w/TOS since it's not commercial. It lists local anesthetics as one of the common causes of true allergic reactions:


Old 04-28-2005, 04:34 AM   #12
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Re: Overdose of Novacane??

I am the opposite,
It's the epinephrine WITH the novocaine that makes me nuts and trembly. For an ear surgery, my heart rate went WELL over a 200 BPM tachycardia. I really thought I had bought the farm but then they started pumping codeine in (and then I WISHED I'd bought the farm.)

In a dentist's chair its only Claustrophobit, PANIC reaction, not a "near death" one. I am SOOO sick of hearing, "it's only a teeny bit of epinephrine."

Old 05-01-2005, 11:24 AM   #13
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Warah HB User
Re: Overdose of Novacane??

Could be several things....would like more info on signs/symptoms duration ect.

1. Overdose--slow onset, s/s get worse as blood levels of drug progress
Signs: talkativeness, apprehension, excitability, slurred speech, muscle twitching, disorientation, sweating, vomiting, elevated bp, hr and respiratory rate.
Symptoms: lightheadedness, dizziness, restlessness, nervousness, numbness, metallic taste, inability to focus or hear, drowsiness
(At mod-high overdose seizures, CNS depression, depressed bp, hr, and respiratory rate)

Usually with overdose an excitation phase occurs first and then more of a drowsiness phase. However, in some people the excitation phase may be brief or not occur at all especially if Lidocaine is used.
This mostly occurs with too large of a dose (but only had 3-4 carpules, doesn't sound like enough).
Could also be too rapid absorption, slow biotransformation, or slow elmination (but unlikely in this case).
It could be an intravascular injection with rapid onset of s/s.

Allergy to local anesthetics are rare but one could have an allergy to busulfite in preservative.

2. Epinephrine--vasoconstrictor added to local anesthetics to decrease absorption of the drug (basically keeps LA by the nerve bundle to increase numbness)
Symptoms: throbbing headache, fear, anxiety, tenseness, restlessness, tremor, perspiration, weakness, dizziness, increase bp, palpiations, excitability.
Many times epinephrine (aka adrenaline) can leak into nicked blood vessels upon injection. Instantly, the patient feels and adrenaline rush (like previous posts) for a minute or two, then it subsides.

It is physically impossible to be allergic to epinephrine since it a natural occuring hormone in the body.

3. Anxiety--panic attack
Alot of times general anxiety about being in the dental office can result in panic attacks. Phobias are quite common and extreme anxiety can result from even the simplest of procedures. Could also be a combination of anxiety, too much local anesthetic or epi....

I hope you find out what it was so it doesn't happen again. Good luck

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