Emla Cream


Emla Cream 5% contains prilocaine and lidocaine, two active ingredients that help numb the skin. It is a local anaesthetic cream that can be applied to the skin to suppress the pain of needle procedures, to help you feel less pain.

How does Emla Cream work?

When Emla cream is applied to the skin, the lidocaine and prilocaine prevent pain signals passing from that area to the brain and help numb the skin. This means otherwise painful procedures can be performed without causing pain.

What is Emla Cream used for?

  • It can be used to temporarily numb the surface of the skin before procedures such as injections, taking blood samples, and minor skin surgery.
  • It can be used prior to a needle involving procedure, to reduce pain and make it less distressing for you or your child when visiting a doctor.
  • It can be used to temporarily numb the genital skin before the surgical treatment of localised lesions, such as the removal of genital warts.
  • It can be used to facilitate cleansing/debridement of leg ulcers.

Emla Cream 5% instructions for application:

  1. Make sure that the area of the skin to be anaesthetised is clean and dry. Shave the area prior to application if necessary. Squeeze half a 5g tube of Emla cream (about 2g) onto the procedure site, over an area the size of a 50p coin. For more specific instructions, depending on age, part of the body or procedures, usage timings may be as little as 10 minutes, see the pack leaflet.
  2. Take one of the occlusive dressings and remove the centre cut-out piece. Peel the protective paper away from the underside. Cover the Emla cream with the dressing so that you get a thick layer underneath. Do not spread out the cream. Press down the edges firmly to avoid leakage.
  3. Remove the paper frame. Write the time of application onto the dressing. Emla must be applied at least one hour before the procedure and can be left in place for up to five hours for adults and four hours for children. The longer the cream stays on, the better the anaesthetic effect.
  4. When ready for use, remove the dressing and wipe off excess cream with a tissue.

Please make sure an appropriate occlusive dressing is used to cover the skin to maximise the absorption, and leave on the skin surface for adequate time (usually 60 minutes) ahead of the needle procedure. You can also ask your pharmacist to advise you on how much to use and where to apply.  Please ensure the needle procedure is performed within the following four hours, but preferably as soon as possible after removal of the excess cream.