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By Syeda Maliha, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University

Curist delivers FDA-approved medicines to your door at half the price of traditional brands. We hope everyone stays safe and healthy during this time.

How do I get rid of hemorrhoids? To treat symptoms of hemorrhoids, you have several over-the-counter (OTC) options to choose from, including Preparation H, Recticare and Lidocaine Cream . There are medications that provide relief from symptoms and should only be used for short-term treatment of 7 days or less. In this article, we will be looking at different OTC available options to relieve the discomfort of hemorrhoids and discuss their similarities and differences.

Phenylephrine: What is Preparation H?

Preparation H® contains phenylephrine which belongs to a class of medications called vasoconstrictors. Preparation H® can aid in relieving both internal and external hemorrhoid symptoms. Hemorrhoids are swollen, inflamed veins in your lower rectum and anus areas. A vasoconstrictor like phenylephrine works by temporarily narrowing the blood vessels in the area, thereby reduces swelling, discomfort, and pain associated with hemorrhoids. 

What is Recticare Cream? What is Recticare Anorectal Cream?

Recticare is a local anesthetic over-the-counter (OTC) topical cream that includes lidocaine 5% as the main active ingredient. A local anesthetic reduces pain or sensation in the area where it is applied to. Recticare (with lidocaine) works by blocking nerve conduction under the skin. It blocks sodium ions from entering nerve cells which are necessary for nerve conduction and for the sensation of pain.

For the treatment of hemorrhoids, lidocaine cream or ointment is often applied topically.  Curist Lidocaine 5% cream is the strongest lidocaine formulation available without a doctor’s prescription, which treats the pain, itching, and burning caused by hemorrhoids or other rectal/anal inflammatory conditions. It is important to keep in mind that lidocaine does not treat the underlying condition, but instead only provides symptom relief from hemorrhoids.

Are Preparation H and Recticare the Same Thing?

No, Preparation H® and Recticare are not the same thing. While Preparation H and Recticare  can help treat hemorrhoids, Preparation H® and Recticare work differently in their mechanisms of action and therefore have different uses. 

What is the Difference: Preparation H vs Recticare Cream vs Lidocaine Cream?

Preparation H®, Recticare, and lidocaine creams are all considered effective medications for relieving hemorrhoid symptoms, however, they differ in how they work and how they are used. Preparation H® contains phenylephrine which  is a vasoconstrictor versus Recticare, which contains lidocaine 5%, a local anesthetic. Both vasoconstrictors and local anesthetics are used to provide relief from hemorrhoids but they are not interchangeable. Preparation H® helps shrink swollen hemorrhoids, and relieves itching and discomfort for a few (typically four) hours. Recticare (lidocaine cream), on the other hand, is a local anesthetic that can help with pain and itching by numbing the area it is applied on. And Recticare is simply a brand of lidocaine 5% cream. Curist Numbing Relief is another brand of lidocaine 5% cream that typically retails for less than half of the price of Recticare.

Preparation H vs Recticare vs Lidocaine 5% Cream: Dosage

Preparation H®,Recticare, and lidocaine 5% creams should be administered similarly. For hemorrhoids, Preparation H® and Recticare (lidocaine 5%) are for rectal use only. For these products, it is important to wash hands before and after use. Before applying either product, clean the affected area and make sure to dry the area well. Avoid application to open wounds, burns, or broken skin. Preparation H® should be applied to clean, dry areas up to 4 times daily. Recticare and other lidocaine 5% creams can be applied to affected areas up to 6 times daily. It is recommended specifically for lidocaine to only be used in small amounts and should be applied as a thin film on the affected area.

Preparation H vs Recticare vs Lidocaine 5% Cream: Side Effects

Preparation H®, Recticare, and lidocaine 5% cream are effective and  well tolerated medications. Most people do not experience side effects from taking them, but it is possible to experience severe side effects such as rectal bleeding or pain. 

Which Works Best to Treat Hemorrhoids: Recticare or Preparation H or Lidocaine Cream?

Preparation H®, Recticare, and lidocaine creams do not cure the underlying condition of hemorrhoids but they can help manage symptoms and provide relief. Preparation H® shrinks current swollen hemorrhoids, which soothes itching and stops discomfort for a few hours. Recticare and lidocaine cream numb the affected area, which helps with the itching and pain associated with hemorrhoids. Preparation H, Recticare and lidocaine are all considered popular over-the-counter treatments for hemorrhoids. Preparation H® can provide relief as quickly as just a few hours. Generally, Recticare and other lidocaine creams take around 30-60 minutes to start working and may last for 1-3 hours depending on how long the cream stays on the skin. These products are recommended for relieving the mild pain, swelling and inflammation of hemorrhoids but only for short term treatment of 7 days or less.

At Curist, the best hemorrhoid cream with lidocaine that we carry is Curist Lidocaine Hemorrhoid Relief with 5% Lidocaine.

Can I Use Preparation H and Recticare Together?

Preparation H® can be taken with Recticare or other brands of lidocaine 5% cream. In fact, there is a formulation of Preparation H with both lidocaine and phenylephrine ingredients to help numb hemorrhoid pain and reduce swelling.This combination is a single product.

Where Can I Buy Preparation H, Recticare, or Lidocaine Cream?

Preparation H® and Recticare are available in local pharmacies as well as stores online, and do not need a doctor’s prescription. Curist carries lidocaine 5% cream at less than half the price of comparable brands, like Recticare. Curist Numbing Relief (lidocaine 5% cream) is sold online and shipped directly to your door.

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This content is for informational use only and does not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is not a substitute for and should not be relied upon for specific medical recommendations. Please talk with your doctor about any questions or concerns.