Bupivacaine (Injection)


Bupivacaine (bue-PIV-a-kane)

Causes numbness or loss of feeling in an area of your body. Given before and during surgery or other procedures, childbirth, or dental work.

Brand Name(s)

Marcaine HCl, Marcaine Spinal, Sensorcaine-MPF, Marcaine Hydrochloride, Sensorcaine, Marcaine

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to bupivacaine or other types of local anesthetic (numbing medicine).

How to Use This Medicine


  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how the medicine will be given. This medicine is sometimes given through a catheter placed in your lower back for an epidural or a spinal block. You may also receive the injection into your rib cage, chest, or other body area. This medicine is injected directly into your gums for dental work.
  • A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • This medicine should cause numbness only to the area where it is injected. This type of numbing procedure is called local anesthesia (an-iss-THEE-zuh). It is not meant to cause you to fall asleep or become unconscious.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using St. Johns wort, digoxin (Lanoxin®), droperidol (Inapsine®), haloperidol (Haldol®), or maprotiline (Ludiomil®). Tell your doctor if you use blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin®), ergot medicines (such as Cafergot® or Wigraine®), an MAO inhibitor (Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, Parnate®), blood pressure medicine (such as atenolol, doxazosin, terazosin, toprolol, Cardura®, Hytrin®, Inderal®, Toprol®, enalapril, lisinopril, Accupril®, Altace®, Lotensin®, Lotrel®, Monopril®, Prinivil®, Vasotec®, Zestril), medicine for depression (such as amitriptyline, nortriptyline, Norpramin®, Vivactil®), or medicines called phenothiazines (such as Compazine®, Mellaril®, Phenergan®, Serentil®, Tacaryl®, Thorazine®, Trilafon®).
  • Tell your doctor if you are using any medicines that make you sleepy. These include sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, narcotic pain relievers, and sedatives.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • If you are not receiving this medicine for childbirth, make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Tell your doctor if you have asthma, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, or seizures (epilepsy). make sure your doctor knows if you have myasthenia gravis, thyroid problems, circulation problems, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, or a blood-iron disorder called methemoglobinemia.
  • Tell your doctor if you have any heart problems such as congestive heart failure or heart rhythm disorders.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
  • It may be easier to hurt yourself while your treated body area is still numb. Be careful to avoid injury until you have regained all the feeling and are no longer numb.
  • If you are receiving this medicine as an epidural to ease labor pains, it may take longer than normal for you to push your baby out. It is also possible that the baby may have unwanted effects after birth (sleepiness, slow responses). Talk to your doctor if you have questions about how this medicine might affect your baby.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Chest pain, uneven heartbeat, trouble breathing.
  • Lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Numbness in another part of your body that has not been treated with this medicine.
  • Ringing in your ears.
  • Seizures.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Back pain.
  • Constipation, nausea, vomiting.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Feeling restless or anxious.
  • Headache.
  • Pain, redness, or swelling where the needle was placed.
  • Shivering, shaking, or tremors.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch)

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

This page was last updated: June 18, 2013

Average rating (2)