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Emla Cream

Generic name: lidocaine and prilocaine topical [LYE-doe-kane-and-APRIL-oe-kane-TOP-ik-al]
The brand name: Emla.
Classification of drugs: Topical anesthetics

What is Emla?

Emla cream is a local anesthetic (numbing medication) made with lidocaine and prilocaine. It acts by blocking signals to your body's nerves.Emla cream is used to numb normal skin and the membranes of the vagina or penis. Emla can be used to help you prepare for minor surgery or medical procedures performed in these regions.

Side effects of Emla

See a doctor immediately. If you experience any of the following symptoms that indicate an allergy reaction, Emla: hives; difficulty breathing; or swelling of your lips, face, and throat.

Contact your doctor immediately in the event that you are suffering from:

  • Extreme burning, stinging, or irritation at the site where the medication was sprayed;
  • Swelling or redness
  • Suddenly feeling dizzy or drowsy after medication is administered;
  • Blurred vision or ringing in your ears
  • The appearance of purple or bruising on the skin
  • Strange temperatures and sensations.

Common Emla adverse effects could include:

  • Minor burning sensation when the medication is applied
  • Itching, rash;
  • Change in the color of the skin where the drug was used.

This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Other side effects could be present. Contact your physician for advice regarding medical effects. You can report any side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


An excessive dose of numbing medications can trigger death if too much is absorbed into the skin. Overdose symptoms may include irregular heartbeats, seizures (convulsions) or coma, a reduced breathing rate, and respiratory impairment (breathing ceases).Make use of the smallest amount of this medication needed to reduce the pain in the skin. Do not apply large quantities of Emla or cover the treated skin areas with plastic wrap or a bandage without medical guidance.Skin that has been affected by irritation or cuts may absorb more topical medications than skin that is healthy.Make use of the smallest amount of this medicine needed to reduce the pain in the skin or ease the pain. Don't use large quantities of Emla or cover the treated skin areas with a bandage or plastic wrap without consulting a physician. Be aware that a lot of procedures for cosmetics are done without a doctor present.Before Emla is injected, inform your physician if you suffer from liver disease, an allergy reaction to prilocaine, lidocaine, or prilocaine, or any familial or personal history of methemoglobinemia or any genetically-related enzyme deficiencies.Avoid injuring the treated skin areas when they are still numb. Avoid contact with extremely hot or extremely cold surfaces.

Before you take this drug

It is not recommended to use Emla cream if you're sensitive to any numbing medication.Overdoses that kill have been reported when numbing medications were used without consulting a medical professional (for example, during an aesthetic procedure such as shaving off hair with lasers). However, overdoses have been observed in women receiving a numbing drug prior to a mammogram.Be aware that a lot of cosmetic procedures can be done without the presence of a physician.

To be sure Emla is suitable for you, inform your doctor that you suffer from:

  • A blood cell disorder known as methemoglobinemia
  • Liver disease;
  • A genetic enzyme deficiency called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency;
  • A familial history of methemoglobinemia or any other genetic enzyme deficiency

FDA pregnancy category A. Emla is not expected to harm a baby who is not yet born. Inform your doctor if you are expecting or planning to become pregnant while receiving treatment.Lidocaine and prilocaine may be found in breast milk and could harm the nursing infant. Consult your physician if you are breastfeeding the baby.

Similar or related drugs

Fentanyl, lidocaine, ketamine, hyoscyamine, propofol, and glycopyrrolate

How to take Emla?

Utilize Emla cream according to the directions on the label or as recommended by your physician. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Don't use Emla cream in greater quantities than the amount recommended.You might need to put on Emla at home for up to 4 hours prior to an operation or surgery. You will receive guidelines on how much medication to apply and how long you should allow it to remain on the skin. Follow these guidelines with care. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you have any concerns.Utilize the least amount of Emla cream to soothe the surface. Your body may absorb too much of this drug in the event that you use it excessively, when you apply it to large areas of your skin, or if you apply heat, bandages, or plastic wraps to the affected skin areas. Skin that is damaged or inflamed may absorb more topical medications than skin that is healthy.It is possible that you need to cover the skin to keep the medication in place. Cover the skin with a protective layer unless your physician has instructed you to.Follow the dosing guidelines carefully when administering this medicine to your child. Emla dosages are based on the weight of children. Don't allow children to take this medication without supervision by an adult.Storage: Store Emla cream in the refrigerator at room temperature, away from heat and moisture. Don't let the cream cool down.

What happens if I miss the dose?

Consult your physician if you do not apply Emla when it is needed prior to your surgical or medical procedure.

What happens if I overdose?

For medical emergencies, seek emergency medical attention or contact for help at the Poison Helpline at 1-800-222-1222.A high dose of numbing medication could cause fatal side effects if a large amount of the medicine is absorbed into the skin and then into your blood. The symptoms could include irregular heartbeats, seizures (convulsions), reduced breathing, coma, and respiratory impairment (breathing ceases).The application of prilocaine and lidocaine to the skin is not likely to result in an overdose unless it is applied more frequently than the recommended dosage.

What should be avoided?

Don't allow this medication to get into your eyes. In the event that it happens, wash with water.Do not take it by mouth. Emla is intended for use only to treat skin.Avoid causing injury to affected skin areas when they're completely numb. Avoid contact with extremely cold or extremely hot surfaces.

Interaction with other drug

Discuss with your doctor any medications you are taking or start or stop taking while you are receiving treatment for Emla, particularly:

  • Chloroquine, dapsone, nitrofurantoin, isosorbide dinitrate, nitroglycerin, nitroprusside, quinine;
  • Heart rhythm medications dofetilide, amiodarone, dronedarone, mexiletine tocainide, and many more;
  • Seizure medicine: phenobarbital, phenytoin, primaquine, or
  • A sulfa drug such as bactrim, septra, or smz-tmp, as well as others

This list isn't complete. Other medications can be incompatible with lidocaine or prilocaine topical, such as prescription and over-the-counter medicines such as vitamins and herbal products. Not all interactions are included in this guideline for medications.