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BACKGROUND A eutectic mixture of lidocaine and prilocaine (EMLA) has been shown to be effective in reducing pain from needle sticks, including those associated with blood sampling and intravenous insertion.

OBJECTIVE To evaluate the effectiveness of EMLA cream applied before needle puncture for local anesthetic administration before minor surgical procedures in this double-blind, randomized, controlled, parallel-group study.

MATERIALS AND METHODS Patients were randomly assigned to receive EMLA or placebo cream (Aqueous) applied under an occlusive dressing. After the procedure, patients were asked to rate the needle prick and procedure pain on a visual analog scale (0=no pain; 10=maximum pain).

RESULTS A total of 94 minor surgical procedures (49 in EMLA and 45 in control) were performed. The mean needle-stick pain score in the EMLA group was significantly lower than in the control group (2.7 vs. 5.7, p<.001, Mann-Whitney U-test). There was also significantly lower procedure pain in the EMLA group than in the control group (0.83 vs. 1.86, p=.009). There were no complications associated with the use of EMLA.

CONCLUSION EMLA effectively reduces the preprocedural needle-stick pain and procedural pain associated with minor surgical procedures.