A new topical anesthetic ointment (EMLA, "eutectic mixture of local anesthetic" 5%) composed of eutectic mixture of prilocaine and lidocaine was studied in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate its efficiency in alleviating pain associated with venous, subcutaneous drug reservoir and lumbar punctures in children. Pain intensity was scored by the children themselves, using a visual analogue scale in which 0 corresponded to absence of sensation and 10 to the worst imaginable painful sensation. Venipunctures were performed on 18 children (6.1 to 12.2 years of age) equally divided in the study and control groups; EMLA cream was associated with lesser pain scores than those with placebo (means ± SD: 2.8 ± 2.4 vs 6.8 ± 2.1, P < .01). A crossover trial was used in the studies of subcutaneous drug reservoir and lumbar punctures, eight children (6.1 to 15.1 years of age) were tested for subcutaneous drug reservoir punctures; pain induced by this procedure was rated at 3.9 ± 2.2 with placebo compared with 1.2 ± 1.8 with EMLA cream (P < .04). In lumbar punctures (14 children studied, 5.5 to 15.3 years of age), EMLA cream was again associated with less pain (1.9 ± 1.9) than was placebo (5.6 ± 3.0, P < .01). It was concluded that the use of EMLA cream substantially reduces pain caused by venous, subcutaneous drug reservoir, and lumbar punctures in children and may therefore be offered to young patients, particularly those repeatedly submitted to such procedures.
- Received March 8, 1988.
- Accepted July 28, 1988.
- Copyright © 1989 by the American Academy of Pediatrics