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South Med J. 1996 Dec;89(12):1184-7.

EMLA cream as a topical anesthetic before office phlebotomy in children.

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  • 1Utah Valley Family Practice Residency, Provo, USA.


We studied the effectiveness of EMLA cream (2.5% lidocaine, 2.5% prilocaine) in reducing distress, anxiety, and pain associated with phlebotomy in pediatric outpatients. This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study using EMLA cream or placebo 1 hour before phlebotomy. Distress, anticipatory anxiety, pain, and adverse reactions were measured. Measurements of distress and ease of procedure, as well as changes in heart rate, showed significant improvement with EMLA cream as compared with placebo. Pain was decreased with use of EMLA cream. Anticipatory anxiety levels were equal within both groups. Ratings of cream efficacy by parent/observer scales were in favor of EMLA cream.

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