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Eur J Pediatr. 1999 May;158(5):421-3.

Safety of lidocaine-prilocaine cream application four times a day in premature neonates: a pilot study.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacy, University Hospital Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Although safety is established for lidocaine-prilocaine cream application to the heel once a day in neonates, it is often necessary to repeat heel lances several times a day in the clinical situation. A pilot safety study applying 0.5 g lidocaine-prilocaine cream to the heel covering an area of 5 cm2 with an occlusive dressing during 30 min four times a day was carried out. Twelve neonates (5 male, 7 female) with a gestational age of 30.1-36.3 weeks (mean 31.6 weeks) and a birth weight of 1100-2910 g (mean 1665 g) were enclosed. To establish safety, methaemoglobin levels and plasma concentrations of lidocaine, prilocaine and o-toluidine were measured until 24 h after the final application. Methaemoglobin levels were no different from baseline measurements, ranging from 0.2-1.1% and 0.1-0.7% respectively. Plasma concentrations of lidocaine and prilocaine were very low, maxima at 0.230 and 0.223 mg/l respectively. Plasma o-toluidine concentrations remained below the detection limit (0.025 mg/l).


Application of 0.5 g lidocaine-prilocaine cream to the heel under occlusion four times a day during 30 min is safe in preterm neonates. Establishing safety by measuring the methaemoglobin level by daily application is recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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