What is EMLA cream?

EMLA is an anesthetic (numbing) cream used to prevent skin pain during minor surgical procedures and injections. EMLA is only available by prescription. It is a cream containing two active ingredients, prilocaine and lidocaine. Lidocaine and prilocaine both relieve pain by stabilizing nerve cell endings, making it hard for the nerve cell to send pain signals to the brain. EMLA cream can be applied to unbroken skin one to two hours before a procedure to decrease pain from a procedure. Uses of EMLA include lessening pain from blood draws or IV needles, skin harvesting (removal of skin to make skin grafts), before laser treatment for some dermatological conditions and other minor surgical procedures. EMLA is also used help with pain during genital wart removal and for some other small surgical procedures.


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