Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Historical Contribution: 1949, Haines & Grabstald, Xylocaine

Haines JS, Grabstald H. Xylocaine: A New Topical Anesthetic in Urology. J Urol. 1949;62;6:901-2.


Xylocaine (2-(diethylamino)-N-(2,6-dimethylphenyl)acetamide), more commonly known as Lidocaine, was first described by Swedish scientists Lofgren and Lundquist in 1943. Interestingly, Lundquist performed the first local anesthetic experiments using xylocaine on himself.[1] A number of subsequent studies demonstrated, "high degrees of anesthetic potency both for surface and infiltration purposes."

In this 1949 manuscript published in the Journal of Urology, Haines and Grabstald describe the use of xylocaine in 250 transurethral procedures varying from passage of sounds to fulguration of bladder tumors. They used approximately 10cc in men and a xylocaine-soaked applicator (placed in the urethra) in women. They describe no untoward effects and tolerability in a wide range of applications including transurethral fulguration of multiple tumors and recurrent dilations of urethral strictures in soldiers who suffered pelvic injuries. Xylocaine became widely marketed as a topical and local anesthetic in 1949 – around the time of this report – and continues to be one of the most widely used topical and local anesthetics around the world!

As an interesting side note, the authors make an important disclosure in the footnotes - the xylocaine in this report was supplied by Astra Pharmaceuticals (a Swedish company founded in 1913, which would later merge with the British, Zeneca Group in 1999 to form AstraZeneca).

To read the entire manuscript: follow the link above, visit the Centennial Website or click here.

HISTORICAL CONTRIBUTIONS highlight the greatest academic manuscripts from the Brady Urological Institute over the past 100 years.  As the Brady Urological Institute approaches its centennial, we will present a HISTORICAL CONTRIBUTION from each of the past 100 years.  In the most recent experience, the most highly cited article from each year is selected; older manuscripts were selected based on their perceived impact on the field.  We hope you enjoy! 



  1. Löfgren N (1948). Studies on local anesthetics: Xylocaine: a new synthetic drug(Inaugural dissertation). Stockholm, Sweden: Ivar Heggstroms.

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