What is EMLA cream 5%?
EMLA Cream is an anaesthetic cream that can be used to numb areas of skin before injections or minor procedures. It can be used by both adults and children and is perfect for kids who are scared of needles and need a way to reduce pain when they have an injection.
When would I need to use numbing cream?
There are many reasons why you may use an anaesthetic cream, including many minor procedures. Some of the most common reasons why people use this product include:
- Getting a needle
- Donating blood
- Minor skin operations
- Removal of warts
- Cleansing or removal of leg ulcers
- Having a cannula inserted
Can I use EMLA Cream when I’m getting a tattoo?
EMLA Cream is a numbing agent and some people use it to ease their pain when they’re getting a tattoo. However, we’d recommend asking your doctor or pharmacist before doing this for yourself, to make sure that it’s the right option for you. You should also let your tattoo artist know that you’re planning on using EMLA Cream so they can make any adjustments they may need to make sure your tattoo is perfect.
How does EMLA Cream 5% work to numb my skin?
EMLA Cream contains two local anaesthetics, lidocaine and prilocaine, which both works to numb the surface of the skin. When this happens, you won’t be able to feel pain, but may still be able to feel pressure and touch, making this perfect for minor procedures or injections. You’ll typically apply a layer of this cream an hour before your procedure (although this can differ depending on your age or condition) and leave it in place, giving it enough time to get to work and numb your skin effectively before you wipe it away.
How long does this anaesthetic last?
When you’ve applied EMLA cream as recommended by the manufacturer or your doctor or pharmacist, your skin will remain numb for around 2 hours. This should be more than enough time to carry out minor procedures or for injection.
Can I use this cream if I’m taking other medication?
If you are using any other medication, including medications you obtained without a prescription and herbal medicines, you should speak to your doctor or Chemist 4 U pharmacist before using this product. This particularly applies to:
- Sulphonamides, which are used to treat infections, and nitrofurantoin, which is used for urinary tract infections, cystitis, and kidney infections
- Phenobarbital and phenytoin, which are used to treat epilepsy
- Other local anaesthetics
- Medicines used to treat an uneven heartbeat, e.g. amiodarone
- Cimetidine or beta-blockers, these can cause an increase of the blood levels of lidocaine
Can I use anaesthetic cream if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should speak to your doctor or Chemist 4 U pharmacist before using this product. Using this cream occasionally should not have any adverse effects during pregnancy, but you should still speak to a medical professional first to be sure that this is safe. If you’re breastfeeding, the lidocaine and prilocaine in this cream can pass into your breast milk in small amounts, this generally will not cause risk for your child, but you should speak to a medical professional to be sure that this product is safe for you and your baby.
How to use this numbing cream
Apply the EMLA cream to the area of skin you wish to numb, squeezing it from the tube into a mound. Do not rub the cream in. Remove dressing from its backing papers, leaving a frame of paper around the outside. Gently place the dressing over the mound of the cream adhesive side down, without spreading the cream under the dressing. Remove the final piece of backing paper and smooth down the edges of the dressing. Leave in place for 60 minutes, letting your doctor or nurse remove the dressing just before they carry out your medical procedure.
What is the usual dose of EMLA Cream
The usual amount of EMLA cream you will need to use will differ depending on your age. Adults will typically need to use 2g (half a 5g tube) of EMLA cream before a small procedure, but you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist before using this product so you can be sure that you’re using the right dose for you.
Why do I need to answer questions before I can buy this product?
You do not need a prescription for EMLA Cream, however, you will be asked to complete a short medical questionnaire by your Chemist 4 U pharmacist before we can take your order. This includes some simple questions that all pharmacies legally are required to ask before supplying this kind of product. This helps our pharmacy team to be sure that this product is the best choice for you.
When should this product not be used?
EMLA Cream should not be used on infants who were born before 37 weeks. Do not use this product on the genitals of children under the age of 12, or on children under 12 who are also being treated with medicines that affect blood pigment levels. Do not use this product if you are allergic to lidocaine, prilocaine, or any of the other listed ingredients. For external use only. Do not apply this cream to the following areas:
- Cuts grazes, or wounds, excluding leg ulcers
- On skin rash or areas of eczema
- In or near the eyes
- Inside the nose, ear, or mouth
- In the back passage (anus)
- On the genitals of children
Speak to your doctor or Chemist 4 U pharmacist before using this product if you or your child:
- Have a rare inherited illness that affects the blood called ‘glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency’
- Have a problem with blood pigment levels called ‘methaemoglobinaemia’
- Have an itchy skin condition called ‘atopic dermatitis’ You may need to use this cream for a short period. Using this cream for longer than 30 minutes could increase the chances of a local skin reaction
- Take medications or products for heart rhythm disorders, e.g. amiodarone
Does EMLA Cream have any side effects?
Like all medications, EMLA Cream can have side effects, although not everyone will experience them. These include:
- Local skin reactions during treatment, e.g. paleness, redness, swelling
- An initially mild sensation of burning, itching, or warmth during treatment
- Numbness or tingling during treatment
- Irritation of treated skin during treatment of leg ulcers
- Allergic reactions, which may be serious, and can in rare cases develop into anaphylactic shock, showing symptoms such as skin rash, swelling, fever, difficulty swallowing or breathing, fainting
- Methaemoglobinaemia, which is a blood disorder, this may be more common in infants
- Small dot-shaped bleeding on the treated area, particularly in children with eczema during longer treatment times
- Irritation of eyes
If you experience these or any side effects while using this product, stop use and speak to your doctor or Chemist 4 U pharmacist right away. For more information about reporting the side effects of medication, please see the MHRA’s Yellow Card Scheme.
How to store this product
Store in a cool, dry place which is below 30 degrees C. Store in the original packaging, do not use if the expiry date printed on the packaging has passed. Keep out of sight and reach of children.
This product is a medicine; make sure to speak to your doctor or Chemist 4 U pharmacist before taking this product if you have an underlying medical problem or are taking any other medicine or complementary therapy. If your symptoms get worse or continue after taking this product, contact us or your doctor. For medical services in your area, please refer to https://www.nhs.uk
If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, speak to your doctor or our pharmacist before taking this product. If you suffer from any allergies, ask your doctor or our pharmacist if this medicine is right for you.
Store all medicines out of sight and reach of children.
Please read the included leaflet carefully before using this product.
Please contact your GP if appropriate regarding this product.
Helpful Advice on Medication Restrictions & Addiction
For further information on our medication restrictions policy, please click here.
If you are concerned about addiction to 'over the counter' medication, we urge you to visit the below links for professional help and advice:
The active substances are lidocaine and prilocaine. Each gram of cream contains 25 mg of lidocaine and 25 mg of prilocaine. The other ingredients are macrogolglycerol hydroxystearate, Carbomer 974P, sodium hydroxide and purified water.
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