|The uses of Emla cream include:|
Emla cream contains two active ingredients, lidocaine (previously known as lignocaine in the UK) and prilocaine. These are both a type of medicine called a local anaesthetic. They are used to numb areas that would otherwise feel pain.
Pain is caused by the stimulation of pain receptors at the ends of nerves. The stimulation causes sodium to enter the nerve ending, which causes an electrical signal to build up in the nerve. When this electrical signal is big enough, it passes along the nerve to the brain, where the signal is interpreted as pain.
Lidocaine and prilocaine work by temporarily blocking this pathway of pain signals along nerves. They do this by stopping the sodium entering the nerve ending at the site of the pain. This prevents an electrical signal building up and passing along the nerve fibres to the brain.
When Emla cream is applied to the skin, the lidocaine and prilocaine prevent pain signals passing from that area to the brain and so numb the skin. This means otherwise painful procedures can be performed without causing pain.
The cream can be used to temporarily numb the surface of the skin before procedures such as injections, taking blood samples and minor skin surgery. The cream is applied in a thick layer underneath a dressing for at least one hour (at least two hours for procedures on large areas, eg split skin grafting) and up to five hours before the procedure. Your doctor, pharmacist or nurse will either apply the cream, or show you how much to use and where to apply it. This will depend on the procedure that will be performed. The dressing is removed just before the medical procedure starts. You can get dressings to use with the cream from your pharmacist or doctor.
Under the supervision of a medical professional, the cream may also be used to temporarily numb the genitals in adults before the removal of genital warts (no dressings required for this use). The cream is applied five to ten minutes before this procedure starts.
What is it used for?
Temporarily numbing the surface of the skin before potentially painful procedures such as injections, taking blood and minor skin surgery.
Temporarily numbing the genitals in adults before the removal of genital warts (only under the supervision of a medical professional).