Benzydamine

Benzydamine is a NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) which was discovered in 1964 in Italy by the Angelini research laboratories. This drug is still used therapeutically in Italy and in many other countries. Benzydamine was also the first topical NSAID marketed in Europe. Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties along with possible side effects and contraindications are similar to those of drugs belonging to the same therapeutic class. However, the topical use offers indisputable advantages in terms of safety.

How does benzydamine work?

Benzydamine accumulates in the inflamed tissue and stabilizes the small vessels which become more resistant to the harmful action of the substances formed during the inflammatory processes. With its membrane-stabilizing effect, benzydamine prevents white blood cells from releasing the enzymes which would promote the inflammatory process. This drug exerts an anti-aggregating action on platelets and on the red blood cells. Benzydamine also exerts a relaxing action on the striated muscles and an antispasmodic action on the smooth muscles and has, therefore, a pain-killing effect.

At higher concentrations, benzydamine inhibits the synthesis of specific substances called Prostaglandins which are actively involved in the inflammatory reaction determining the relative extent and duration and leading to the onset of the painful stimuli which are typical of inflammation.

Therefore, benzydamine is an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic drug and is used both systemically and topically. For this reason, it is the active ingredient of many diverse pharmaceutical formulations such as sugar-coated tablets, suppositories, drops but also gels, creams, oropharyngeal sprays, mouthwashes and vaginal solutions.

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When is the administration of benzydamine useful?

Since benzydamine is contained in many pharmaceutical formulations which are available in the market, this drug can be used for the symptomatic treatment of many inflammatory or irritant conditions, also if associated with pain in several body districts: such as airways, mouth (aphtha, stomatitis, pharyngitis, gingivitis), urogenital system (nonspecific vaginitis, vulvovaginitis, cervicovaginitis) and locomotor system (sprains, tears, wryneck, strains and muscle pain in general).

Due to its anti-platelet activity and in addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, benzydamine is also indicated as an adjuvant in the treatment of vascular and perivascular inflammatory processes, such as phlebitis and thrombophlebitis. In particular, the action of benzydamine can be useful in the treatment of superficial venous thromboses (caused by thrombi, i.e., by the blood clots which form within blood vessels and obstruct circulation) with an inflammatory component, e.g., when the vessel wall is inflamed.

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Advantages and Precautions for Use

The advantage of the use of a topically active NSAID consists in the high concentration of the active substance reaching the site of injury whereas blood concentration remains very low. Therefore, the efficacy is combined with a reduced general and gastrointestinal toxicity.

Despite the efficacy and the tolerability of benzydamine, some precautions for use should be observed since it is an anti-inflammatory drug.

The medicinal product containing benzydamine should be used by subjects without hypersensitivity to the active substance or to other anti-inflammatory agents.
A protracted application of the drug locally is not recommended since local sensitization may occur. In addition, benzydamine administered orally should always be taken on a full stomach in order to prevent possible gastrointestinal disorders.

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