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Emla Cream

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Dr. Sarah Donald
Dr. Sarah Donald Clinical Lead

"Our medical team is always on hand to ensure that you get the safest and most effective treatment. Your medication will be dispatched the same day from our pharmacy."

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Emla Cream FAQs

What is Emla Cream?

Emla Cream acts as a local anaesthetic when applied to your skin. It can be used to help prevent premature ejaculation (PE), or to ease pain during a variety of minor medical procedures.

Medical professionals regularly apply Emla Cream before injections (especially in sensitive areas), low-level skin surgery (e.g. skin grafts or wart removal) and cleansing procedures (debridement).

Emla Cream contains both prilocaine and lidocaine. These are both classified as local anaesthetics of the amino amide type.

How does Emla Cream work?

Premature ejaculation is when a man ejaculates within a few minutes of initiating sexual activity. The precise timeframe that defines ejaculation as 'premature' can vary but is normally around 2 minutes.

While this is unlikely to cause a physical issue, it can have a severe psychological effect on men and their partners if it occurs regularly over a long period.

Emla Cream works by preventing the effective communication of sensations from the nerve endings to the brain.

When applied to the groin, this cream helps to block pleasurable sensations travelling from the penis. This numbing effect can help reduce sexual sensitivity and therefore prolong intercourse.

The same principle applies if you are given Emla Cream before a medical procedure. Pain signals are prevented from reaching your brain, enabling you to undergo the procedure without the associated discomfort.

Emla Cream generally takes around 1 hour to reach full effect, but this depends on your age and the area of your body you intend to apply it to. (It can sometimes work in as little as 10 minutes.)

This cream can be purchased online, over the counter or issued on prescription from your doctor. However, it is recommended that you speak to a doctor before treating yourself with Emla Cream.

How to use Emla Cream

  • When used to treat PE, you should apply 1g of cream to a surface area of roughly 10cm²
  • If applying to the penile head, the recommended amount of cream is 25mg
  • Emla Cream should be applied 20 minutes before intercourse
  • Leave it on for a maximum of 15 minutes and wash away any excess to avoid affecting your partner
  • Use a condom during intercourse to avoid cross-contamination
  • When used for medical procedures, approximately 2.5g should be applied to an area roughly the size of a 50p piece
  • The site of application should be dry and free from contaminates (it may also require shaving)
  • Once applied, the area with the cream should be covered with an air-tight, water-tight dressing
  • This should be done at least 60 minutes before a medical procedure
  • The cream can be left on your skin for up to 5 hours, or 4 hours for children (with the effects getting stronger the longer it is left on)
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly after use to remove residue and prevent cross-contamination (unless your hands are the areas being treated)
  • If the cream gets into your eyes rinse thoroughly with saline solution
  • Do not apply the cream to broken skin, or skin affected by a rash or eczema

Emla Cream Dosages

There is only one dose available for Emla Cream. One gram of the cream contains 25 mg of lidocaine and 25 mg of prilocaine. Emla Cream is generally available in two sizes: 5g or 30g.

Emla Cream Side Effects

Side effects which have been commonly reported include a pale complexion and pink, swollen skin at the site of application.

A sensation of heat, itching or tingling is a common side effect when applied to the genital region. However, these effects are uncommon when the cream is used elsewhere.

Other rare side effects include blue/grey skin and methaemoglobinaemia, most commonly in children. Contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.

Always consult your doctor if you are concerned about any side effects.

Emla Cream Precautions/Interactions

While Emla Cream is a relatively safe treatment, you should follow the instructions precisely during use.

Avoid Emla Cream if you are allergic to bupivacaine, ropivacaine, any other amide anaesthetics or any of the cream's ingredients.

Do not give Emla Cream to premature babies, or babies under 12 months undergoing treatment with medications known to cause methaemoglobinaemia.

Children with molluscum contagiosum or atopic dermatitis may experience irritation of the skin where the cream is applied so caution should be exercised when using Emla Cream in this group.

You should also exercise caution if you: are deficient in glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD); have anaemia or methaemoglobinaemia (or, are taking medications that could cause such conditions); have eczema (otherwise known as atopic dermatitis); or are currently taking antiarrhythmic medicines.

You may have an increased risk of methaemoglobinaemia if you use Emla Cream in combination with the following medicines:

  • acetanilide
  • aniline dyes
  • benzocaine
  • chloroquine
  • dapsone
  • metoclopramide
  • naphthalene
  • nitrates and nitrites
  • nitrofurantoin
  • nitroglycerin
  • nitroprusside
  • pamaquine
  • para-aminosalicylic acid
  • phenacetin
  • phenobarbital
  • phenytoin
  • primaquine
  • quinine
  • sulphonamide antibiotics

This type of anaesthetic is generally safe for all age groups (except premature babies). When used as an anaesthetic in a medical setting, this medication is most often used on children.

If you are pregnant, you should consult with your doctor before using Emla Cream.

The cream's active ingredients (prilocaine and lidocaine) can absorb into breast milk; however, this is likely to be in trace amounts that will not harm your baby. Speak to your doctor if you are a breastfeeding mother, before you start using this medicine. Care should be taken not to apply this cream to areas your baby could come into contact with while breastfeeding.

Can I buy Emla 5% Cream online?

You can buy Emla Cream online after completing a free online consultation. Our doctor reviews this to ensure the treatment is correct for you. Once approved, this consultation is kept in your member's area should you need it in the future.

Getting Emla Cream delivered in the UK

We offer a free next-day delivery straight to your door. This is available for Emla Cream. To do eligible for this, you must have your consultation completed and approved by 4.30pm Monday to Friday. The entire process takes approximately 10 minutes, dependant on the speed you complete the consult and the availability of our doctor.

We offer thousands of UPS Pickup Points across the UK or you can choose a particular day yourself through our nominated day delivery option.

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