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Br J Anaesth. 1995 Jun;74(6):706-8.

Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of amethocaine gel applied topically before venous cannulation in adults.

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Department of Anaesthesia, North Staffordshire Hospital Centre, Stoke on Trent.


We have assessed in a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial, the efficacy and safety of an amethocaine gel preparation for alleviating the pain of venous cannulation. Forty-two unpremedicated adult patients were allocated randomly to receive either amethocaine gel 1 g (4% w/w) or placebo gel 1 g applied to the dorsum of the hand for 40 min before venous cannulation. After removal of the gel, a 20-gauge cannula was inserted and the pain of cannulation assessed by a three-point rank score and a 100-mm visual analogue scale: 90% of patients who received amethocaine reported clinically acceptable topical anaesthesia. Both verbal rating scores and visual analogue scores for pain were significantly less with amethocaine. Slight erythema associated with amethocaine occurred in one patient and slight itching in two patients. No other adverse features were evident.

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