EMLA means Eutectic Mixture of Local...
EMLA means Eutectic Mixture of Local Anesthetics. It is available as cream or emulsion. The active ingredients present in EMLA are 2.5% lidocaine and 2.5% prilocaine and they are used in equal quantities (weight).
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It is called as eutectic mixture because the melting points of the individual lidocaine and prilocaine are greater than the melting point of their mixture used at equal quantities. And as the name suggests it is used as a local and skin anesthetic which causes numbness. It can be used to numb the skin or genitals (penis and vagina) while inserting any catheters or tubes or during any medical procedure. It can be used to numb the skin during vaccination or tattooing or cosmetic procedures or blood tests, blood donations and etc so that the person does not feel the pain.
Mechanism of action:
Lidocaine and prilocaine block the entry of the sodium ionic flux into the nerve cell which is required to initiate and conduct the nerve impulses. So EMLA works by blocking the transmission of the nerve signals in the body and that’s why pain is not perceived by the pain receptors.
How to use EMLA:
Applying EMLA is simple. You can apply it normally just like any other cream but you should not rub it into the skin. You can use it on babies, children and adults but it is based on their age and weight. The dosage and the total time of application for babies and children is less than that of the adults. So you have to use it according to the instructions provided by the doctor or present in the information leaflet. Usually you have to apply the cream on the area to be treated and dress it properly so that it doesn’t rub off. Then you have to keep it for at least an hour before performing any procedure. But it is always safe to study and follow the instructions in the leaflet. Do not use in high doses or in bruised or cut areas. Do not use in the genitals of the children. While performing any medical procedures on the skin such as venipuncture and intravenous catheter placement, EMLA should be properly dressed for up to 1-2 hours. The numbness can remain for up to 1-2 hours after the removal of EMLA. But the genitals can absorb EMLA very quickly and the numbness will start in 5-10 minutes and it may stay for 15-20 minutes.
EMLA side effects:
A mild burning or itching sensation is usually common. But you should immediately seek medical advice if serious side effects such as hives (urticaria), severe burning and stinging sensation, swelling and redness, seizures, dizziness, bruises, blisters, uneven heart beat, difficulty in breathing, swelling of the face, lips, throat and tongue occur. Serious side effects are usually rare with EMLA.
EMLA should not be used if you have any skin allergies or if you are allergic to lidocaine or prilocaine or any other anesthetics which contain amides.
Don’t use EMLA on any bruised or cut areas.
EMLA should not be used in the genitals of children.
You should not use EMLA if you have any genetic enzyme disorders or liver diseases or kidney diseases or heart diseases or blood disorders such as methemoglobinemia or anemia.
EMLA should not be used in ear or nose or eyes or mouth or anus.
High doses of EMLA should not be used and you should prevent the contact of EMLA with eyes.
If you are using any other medicines along with EMLA, it is always safe to discuss with your doctor.
Care should be taken to avoid any injuries of the treated skin while it is numb.
Lactating women should not use EMLA as it can excrete into the breast milk.
Pregnant women may use it based on their condition and after discussing with the doctor.