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Quick summary

Type of medicine

Topical Anaesthetic Cream



Active Ingredient

Lidocaine and Prilocaine

Effective within

30 Minutes to 1 Hour

Works by

Numbing the Skin

Side effects

Skin Redness, Irritation

Medication details


Emla Cream 5g is a topical anaesthetic cream designed to numb the skin's surface, making it an essential tool for various medical procedures and treatments that may involve discomfort or pain. This comprehensive guide will provide you with detailed information about Emla Cream 5g, including its description, directions for use, ingredients, potential side effects, and important warnings.

Emla Cream 5g is widely used in clinical settings and by healthcare professionals to minimize pain during procedures such as injections, vaccinations, blood draws, and minor surgical interventions. It is suitable for both adults and children, making it a versatile option for managing procedural discomfort.


Using Emla Cream 5g correctly is essential to ensure its effectiveness and safety. Here are the steps for proper application:
Clean the Skin: Before applying Emla Cream, clean the skin thoroughly with mild soap and water. Pat it dry gently.
Apply a Thick Layer: Squeeze out an ample amount of Emla Cream onto the area where the procedure will take place. Ensure that you apply a thick and even layer, typically 2 to 3 mm thick.
Cover the Area: After applying the cream, cover it with an occlusive dressing, such as plastic wrap or a transparent adhesive film dressing. This helps keep the cream in place and enhances its numbing effect.
Allow Sufficient Time: The time needed for the cream to take effect varies depending on the procedure and the specific location on the body. In general, Emla Cream should be left in place for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before the procedure. Consult with your healthcare provider for precise timing instructions.
Remove and Clean: After the recommended time has passed, carefully remove the dressing and wipe off the cream with a clean, dry cloth. Make sure to remove all residue.
Proceed with the Procedure: Once the skin is numb, your healthcare provider can proceed with the planned procedure. You should not feel pain during the procedure.
Dispose of Materials Properly: Dispose of the used dressing and any remaining Emla Cream as per local regulations.
Always follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider or the product packaging for specific guidance tailored to your procedure.


Emla Cream 5g contains two active ingredients:
Lidocaine: Lidocaine is a local anaesthetic that works by blocking nerve signals in the skin, preventing the sensation of pain.
Prilocaine: Prilocaine is another local anaesthetic that helps enhance the numbing effect of the cream.
These two active ingredients work together to provide effective and reliable numbing of the skin's surface, allowing for more comfortable medical procedures.
Inactive ingredients may also be present in the formulation to enhance stability and texture, but they do not have a direct impact on the numbing effect.

Side Effects

While Emla Cream is generally well-tolerated, some individuals may experience mild side effects. Common side effects may include:
Skin Redness: The skin in the application area may appear slightly red or flushed, which is typically temporary and resolves on its own.
Skin Irritation: Some people may experience mild itching, burning, or stinging at the application site.
Swelling: In rare cases, localized swelling may occur.
Allergic Reactions: Although uncommon, allergic reactions such as rash, hives, or difficulty breathing may occur. If you suspect an allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention.
It's essential to note that serious side effects are rare when Emla Cream is used as directed. If you experience severe or persistent side effects, consult your healthcare provider.


Before using Emla Cream 5g, take note of the following warnings:
Allergic Reactions: If you have a known allergy to lidocaine, prilocaine, or any other ingredients in Emla Cream, do not use this product, and inform your healthcare provider.
Avoid Application Near Eyes: Do not apply Emla Cream near the eyes, as it can cause eye irritation. If contact with the eyes occurs, rinse thoroughly with water.
Avoid Ingestion: Emla Cream is for external use only. Do not ingest or apply it inside the mouth, nose, or any mucous membranes.
Do Not Use on Open Wounds or Broken Skin: Avoid applying Emla Cream on open wounds, broken skin, or areas with cuts or sores.
Not for Use on Genital Skin: Emla Cream should not be applied to genital skin, especially in children, as it can increase the risk of methemoglobinemia, a rare but serious condition.
Use During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your healthcare provider before using Emla Cream. While it is generally considered safe, it's essential to discuss its use in your specific situation.
Use in Children: Emla Cream can be used in children, but proper caution should be exercised, especially in infants. Follow the recommended application guidelines and consult a healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
Methemoglobinemia: Although rare, Emla Cream can lead to methemoglobinemia, a condition where oxygen in the blood is reduced. This is more likely with excessive use, especially in infants. Monitor for symptoms such as bluish skin, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
Consult with Your Healthcare Provider: Always consult your healthcare provider or a qualified professional for guidance on the appropriate use of Emla Cream in your specific medical procedure.

Medically reviewed and published

  • This page was medically reviewed by Dr Sohaib Imtiaz, Clinical Lead on 5 oct 2023, 14:45

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Please read our FAQs page to find out more.

Can I use Emla Cream for cosmetic procedures, like dermal fillers or botox injections?

Emla Cream is primarily intended for medical procedures performed by healthcare professionals. While it may be considered for cosmetic procedures, it's crucial to consult with the healthcare provider administering the treatment to determine if Emla Cream is suitable and safe for the specific procedure.

Can I apply Emla Cream to large areas of my body for extended periods?

Using Emla Cream on extensive areas of the body for prolonged periods is generally not recommended. Extended and widespread use may increase the risk of systemic absorption of the active ingredients, potentially leading to side effects. Follow the recommended application guidelines provided by your healthcare provider for your specific procedure.

Can Emla Cream be used for laser hair removal treatments?

Emla Cream can be considered for use during laser hair removal treatments to minimize discomfort, especially in sensitive areas. However, it's essential to consult with the clinic or practitioner performing the procedure. They will advise on the appropriate timing and application method to ensure the cream's effectiveness without compromising the treatment's outcomes.

Can children use Emla Cream without adult supervision?

Children can use Emla Cream, but it should always be applied under adult supervision. The cream should be used with caution in pediatric patients, and the recommended dosage and application time should be followed precisely. Consult with a healthcare provider for guidance on using Emla Cream in children, especially in infants and toddlers.

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