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Emla Patient Information including How Should I Take

What should I discuss with my health care provider before using lidocaine and prilocaine topical (Emla)?

An overdose of numbing medications can cause fatal side effects if too much of the medicine is absorbed through your skin and into your blood.

Overdose is more likely to occur when using a numbing medicine without the advice of a medical doctor (such as during a cosmetic procedure like laser hair removal). However, overdose has also occurred in women treated with a numbing medicine before having a mammography. Symptoms may include uneven heartbeats, seizure (convulsions), coma, slowed breathing, or respiratory failure (breathing stops).

Do not use lidocaine and prilocaine topical if you have a blood cell disorder called methemoglobinemia.

Before lidocaine and prilocaine topical is applied, tell your doctor if you have:

  • liver disease;
  • a history of allergic reaction to lidocaine or prilocaine; or
  • a personal or family history of methemoglobinemia, or any genetic enzyme deficiency.

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use lidocaine and prilocaine topical.

FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Lidocaine and prilocaine topical can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I use lidocaine and prilocaine topical (Emla)?

Use this medication exactly as directed on the label, or as it has been prescribed by your doctor. Do not use the medication in larger amounts, or use it for longer than recommended.

Your body may absorb more of this medication if you use too much, if you apply it over large skin areas, or if you apply heat, bandages, or plastic wrap to treated skin areas. Skin that is cut or irritated may also absorb more topical medication than healthy skin.

Use the smallest amount of medicine needed to numb the skin or relieve pain. Do not use large amounts of lidocaine and prilocaine topical, or cover treated skin areas with a bandage or plastic wrap without medical advice. Be aware that many cosmetic procedures are performed without a medical doctor present.

This medication comes with instructions for safe and effective application. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

You should be lying down when lidocaine and prilocaine topical cream is applied.

Your medicine may have been supplied with bandages to cover the cream when it is applied to a small area on your skin. If using a bandage dressing, first apply a thick layer of the cream to the skin, taking care not to spread the cream out. Place the bandage over the cream and smooth down the edges until it is completely sealed around the cream.

Lidocaine and prilocaine topical is usually applied 1 to 2 hours before the start of a procedure that requires the treated area to be numb. Follow your doctor's instructions about the length of time the cream should be left on the skin.

Store lidocaine and prilocaine topical at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not allow the cream to freeze.

Side Effects Centers

Emla - User Reviews

Emla User Reviews

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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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