Born February 27, 1917 – 1917
Alkamin Ester of Para-Aminobenzoic Acid
Patent #: 812,554
German chemist Alfred Einhorn invented the widely recognized dental
anesthetic Novocain. With his advancement, he ushered in a new era of safer,
more reliable anesthetics.
Before the discovery of Novocain, cocaine was the most commonly used local
anesthetic. In addition to being highly addictive, cocaine contained a level
of toxicity that caused concern in the medical profession. Many individuals—
including Einhorn, who started his work in this field in 1898—researched
anesthetics that could provide an alternative to cocaine. In 1904, after
years of trials and experiments, Einhorn reached a breakthrough with the
substance he first named procaine, later to be known as Novocain.
Novocain was adopted as the standard local anesthetic in the medical
profession shortly after its inception in 1905. While its anesthetic
capabilities were weaker than cocaine, Novocain proved to be the safest,
effective alternative to cocaine. Although it has been replaced by Lidocaine,
Novocain is still used today, most commonly in dentistry.
Born in Hamburg, Germany, Einhorn studied at the University of
Tübingen before earning his degree in 1880. He worked as a research
chemist at Meister, Lucius & Brüning and Bayer Laboratories.