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  • US Name:


  • Generic Names:

    Dou-Caine, Emla, Prilidan

  • Active Ingredients:

    Lidocaine and Prilocaine

  • Brand Manufacturer:

    Astra Zeneca

  • Manufacturer Location:


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OTC: No Prescription Required

Emla cream is a local anesthetic. It is used to numb areas of the skin that would otherwise feel pain from some action, such as injections, scraping skin lesions, or removing leg ulcers.

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Prilidan Generic 5% - 30g
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Emla (lidocaine and prilocaine) is a local anesthetic cream for pain relief before procedures involving the insertion of a needle (e.g., an infusion, blood tests) and minor skin operations.

Emla 5% cream works by temporarily numbing the skin surface so that it helps relieve the pain. Lidocaine and prilocaine work by temporarily blocking the pathway of pain signals along nerves. They do this by stopping the sodium from entering the nerve ending at the site of the pain. This prevents an electrical signal from building up and passing along the nerve fibers 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.


Use the cream as directed. In most cases, after applying a dose of cream to the affected area of skin, it should be covered with an occlusive (sealed) dressing. The length of time the covering should be left varies depending on the reason for using Emla. Ask the doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

This text is for informational purposes only. Please consult a doctor or pharmacist before using any medication. 

Read the information leaflet that comes with the medication.

Most people who use Emla cream do not experience any negative side effects. Doctors prescribe Emla because they assess the benefits of such treatment outweigh any likely unwanted effects.

A mild reaction (paleness or redness of the skin, slight puffiness, an initial burning sensation, or itching) may occur in the area where Emla 5% cream is applied. These are normal reactions to the cream and the anesthetic ingredients, and they will disappear within a short time without any additional measures being needed.

Not all side effects are listed here. If these or other unlisted symptoms persist or worsen, consult a healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Emla can be used to numb areas of skin when minor surgical procedures will be performed (injections, needle insertion for blood tests etc.), to block out pain. Other uses are to stop pain in treatment of skin ulcers, scraping of viral skin lesions, and as a preparatory to the injection of local anesthetics for deeper surgery.

  • Can I use Emla without a dressing?
    When Emla is being used in a clinic or doctor's rooms as a local anesthetic, a dressing is not used. The medical procedure usually starts as soon as the numbing effect of the cream has taken effect. Emla is only used in this way for adults under the supervision of a doctor or nurse. The usual dose is 1 to 2 grams of cream for each 10 square centimeters of skin, up to a maximum of 10 grams.
  • How do you know if Emla cream is working?
    Emla takes about one hour for its numbing effect to start to work. It should be applied in advance of the procedure. If using Emla on the face, numbing may occur in approx. 30–60 minutes. After the cream has been removed, numbing usually lasts for at least 2 hours (shorter if using Emla on the face).
  • Does numbing cream need to be refrigerated?
    Follow the leaflet's instructions to store in a refrigerator, but do not freeze. Dispose of any cream not used 3 months after opening the container, or if it is past the use-by date.
  • What is the difference between lidocaine and Emla?
    Emla works like a lidocaine patch. It delivers the local anesthetic directly to the site where numbing is required. Unlike the lidocaine patch, Emla results in sensory loss in the skin through sodium-channel–blocking activity.

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