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Question about EMLA cream, ELA-max, and other topical numbing agents


Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Dec 15, 2004
  1. Attending Physician
    What do you think of this idea for a research project?

    I'm biased because I loved EMLA cream as a kid. I first encountered the stuff long after I got over a fear of needles, and it still made life 1000X easier. That said, I've noticed a lot of physicans at my school think it's a waste of time, and that distraction and bribery work just as well with kids, even tho there are a couple of randomized controlled trials that say otherwise (Southern Medical Journal; Dec96, Vol. 89 Issue 12, p1184, 4p). These trials also discredit the idea that EMLA cream makes veins shrink.

    Therefore, I would like to find some sort of outcome measurement, be it IV attempts, cost, or length of stay, that could possibly prove a benefit of topical numbing creams before venepunture or IV beyond the fact that it makes the patient's life easier.

    Of course such a trial would only be applicable to non-emergent situations.

    Any Ideas?
    Am I missing the real reason why doctors don't prescribe numbing medicines prior to routine labs and IV's?

    Any replies will be appreciated.
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