A Phase 3 clinical trial has deemed a nasal spray called Kovanaze safe and effective for avoiding pain at the dentist—including the sting of a numbing injection.
“There is really nothing else like this out there,” says Elliot V. Hersh, the study’s lead author and a professor in the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery/pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. “This is obviously a great thing for needle-phobic individuals, and it can reduce inadvertent needle-stick injuries in the clinic as well.”
The double-blind, randomized trial found that the compound, a combination of the local anesthetic tetracaine and the nasal decongestant oxymetazoline, was effective at preventing pain during a single restorative procedure in an upper bicuspid, canine, or incisor in 88 percent of patients, a rate comparable to the success of commonly used injectable numbing agents. The most common side effects were runny nose and nasal congestion; no serious side effects were reported.
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