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Emla Cream

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EMLA cream is a local anaesthetic cream. We prescribe it to treat premature ejaculation in males. It works by reducing sensation in the penis and helping you last longer during sex.
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Emla Cream

What is Emla Cream?

Emla cream is a topical cream. It is a local anaesthetic, used to numb the skin. Emla cream is used primarily to numb the skin before surgery or an injection so that the patient does not feel pain. However, it can also be used for other conditions, such as during tattoo procedures or for men to delay ejaculation in men suffering from premature ejaculation.

Emla cream is available on prescription from your doctor or pharmacist or from online pharmacy services. We can also prescribe it to you following a brief online assessment. Contact us to find out more. Emla cream contains two active ingredients - lidocaine and prilocaine. Emla is a brand name.

For more information on Emla cream, please consult the patient information leaflet.

How it works

Emla cream is a a local anaesthetic. It works by numbing the surface of the skin for a short time, which means the patient cannot feel pain in that area. It is useful for certain medical procedures such as removal of warts or to minimise pain felt by needles when having injections.

Emla cream works in a similar way for premature ejaculation (PE). Premature ejaculation is where a man ejaculates too quickly during sexual intercourse. This can be as a result of any number of physical or psychological reasons, and men with PE often suffer from anxiety as a result. Emla cream numbs the surface of the penis, reducing sensation and therefore helping increase ejaculatory latency time.

By delaying ejaculation, it can help men last longer during sex. However, it’s important that you consult with your doctor before using Emla cream for treating premature ejaculation, as there may be more suitable treatment options available.

Before you take it

You must not use Emla cream if you are allergic to the local anaesthetics prilocaine and lidocaine, or any other similar local anaesthetic creams. If you are allergic to any of the other inactive ingredients in this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist to obtain other treatments for your condition.

If you have a rare illness called glucose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, you must not use Emla cream. This is a rare, inherited disorder that affects the blood. If you have this disorder you must discuss an alternative treatment with your doctor.

Emla cream in moderate amounts is unlikely to cause any harm during pregnancy, although if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice. Lidocaine and prilocaine pass into breast milk, but in very small amounts, which should not pose any harm to a breastfeeding baby. However, speak with your doctor if you are unsure or require further advice.

Do not use Emla cream on any cuts, open wounds, grazes or ulcers. If you have these issues in the area where you want to apply the cream, consult your doctor or pharmacist before applying it.

Emla cream should not affect hormonal contraceptives such as the contraceptive pill (morning after pill,) implants, injection or the contraceptive patch.

If you have a skin condition called atopic dermatitis, Emla cream will be suitable, but a shorter application time may be necessary. If you have atopic dermatitis and you leave Emla cream on your skin for longer than 30 minutes, you may experience a skin reaction.

You should be aware that on newly shaven skin, the application and absorption time may be shorter. You must be careful to follow the recommended dosage and application instructions exactly.

Emla cream will not work for erectile dysfunction. You must seek an alternative treatment for this or other sexual health problems. You must also be aware that Emla cream will only treat premature ejaculation - it will not provide a cure.

Emla cream will not impact your ability to drive or operate heavy machinery.

You should inform your doctor if you are taking any of the following medications before you start using Emla cream. They may cause drug interactions and you may need to find an alternative treatment for your condition. Potential interactions can occur with:

  • Medicines used to treat infections, such as nitrofurantoin for cystitis
  • Any medicine used to treat epilepsy, such as phenobarbital
  • Beta-blockers, which can increase blood levels of lidocaine
  • Medicines used to treat arrhythmia, such as amiodarone
  • Any other local anaesthetic

This is not an exhaustive list of warnings or interactions that Emla cream may cause. For a complete list, read the patient information leaflet, or speak with your doctor.

Dosage Instructions

You must always apply Emla cream exactly as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. You should never exceed the stated dose. If you are in any way unsure, consult your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Where to apply the cream and how much to apply will depend on the condition Emla cream is being used to treat. Your doctor will give you precise dosage instructions which you must follow exactly.

For premature ejaculation, the cream should be applied to the penis roughly 15 - 20 minutes before sexual activity. Be careful not to apply too much, as this may numb the penis completely. Wipe off any excess cream before sexual contact, as it can numb your partner and reduce their sensation.

It’s also advised not to wear condoms after applying Emla cream and to use a different form of contraception, as Emla cream is oil based which can damage condoms and cause them to split.

For other uses, you should apply Emla cream exactly as directed. Store Emla cream out of the reach of children and pets, in a cool, dry place free from moisture and heat.

Common Side Effects of Emla Cream

Like all medications, Emla cream has the potential to cause side effects. These are usually mild to moderate in nature, and should not present a substantial problem. However, if these side effects persist, consult your doctor or pharmacist. They include:

  • Local skin reactions, such as swelling, paleness, redness
  • Mild burning or itching in the treated area - this is more likely when Emla cream is applied to the genitals

Emla cream can also carry a risk of more serious side effects. These are rarer, but should be reported to your doctor or healthcare professional. Related side effects can include:

  • Irritation of the skin
  • Methaemoglobinaemia (blood disorder) during treatment of the skin
  • Small, dot-shaped bleeding on the site of application
  • Tingling around the site of application

It’s possible to experience a severe allergic reaction to Emla cream. This is extremely rare, but any allergic reaction is an emergency. Immediately stop using Emla cream and seek medical help. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:

  • Hives or nettle rash
  • Loss of consciousness or feeling faint
  • Wheezing, difficulty breathing
  • Tightness in the chest or throat
  • Skin rash - redness, blistering, peeling, itching

This is not an exhaustive list of potential side effects, and for a full list you should consult your doctor or pharmacist, or review the patient information leaflet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Emla Cream suitable for children?

Emla cream is suitable for children to take in certain situations, such as before having an injection. However, we do not prescribe any medication to anyone under the age of 18. Always follow your doctor’s advice regarding this.

I’m pregnant. Can I take Emla Cream?

Emla cream should not cause problems for pregnant women in most cases. However, you should first speak with your doctor before taking Emla cream for any condition if you are pregnant, as there may be a more suitable alternative medication.

What happens if I miss a dose?

As Emla cream is applied only when required, you should not be following a dosing schedule and so missing a dose is not concern. For premature ejaculation, simply apply the cream 15-20 minutes before intercourse.

What happens if I take too much?

Applying too much cream may cause more numbness than intended. In the case of premature ejaculation, applying too much to the penis can make it completely numb. You may also experience dizziness, abnormal taste or blurred vision. If you think you have applied too much Emla cream, consult your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

More Information
Dosage Instructions Please see medicine label for the dosage instructions.