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Br J Anaesth. 1994 Feb;72(2):174-6.

Comparison of percutaneous anaesthesia for venous cannulation after topical application of either amethocaine or EMLA cream.

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  • 1North Staffordshire Hospital Centre, City General Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent.


We have compared, in a double-blind study, the efficacy of topical amethocaine cream 1 g (5% w/w) in alleviating the pain of venous cannulation with that of 5% EMLA cream 2.5 g. One hundred and twenty unpremedicated female patients undergoing minor gynaecological surgery, were allocated randomly to one of four groups: 5% EMLA cream 2.5 g for 30 min: 5% EMLA cream 2.5 g for 60 min; amethocaine cream 1 g (5% w/w) for 30 min; amethocaine cream 1 g (5% w/w) for 60 min. After removal of the cream, venous cannulation was performed with an 18-gauge cannula. Patients assessed the pain experienced using a 100-mm visual analogue score and four-point rank score. In addition, a blinded observer assessed the patient's response to venous cannulation using a four-point rank score. Good analgesia was obtained in all groups and there was no statistically significant difference in pain scores between the groups.

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