Lidocaine/prilocaine eutectic mixture is marketed as a 5% oil-in-water emulsion incorporated in a cream base (EMLA cream) or a cellulose disk (EMLA patch). The cream is applied under an occlusive dressing, while the patch incorporates an occlusive dressing to facilitate absorption of lidocaine and prilocaine into the area where anaesthesia is required. Local dermal anaesthesia is achieved after approximately 60 minutes, whereupon the occlusive dressing (or patch) is removed. The duration of anaesthesia is approximately two hours following removal of the occlusive dressing.
It is important to note that E. Fougera & Co., makers of the generic cream widely used in the United States as Lidocaine and Prilocaine Cream, 2.5%/2.5%, recommends different timing for application of the cream as well as length of anesthesia. They state the cream must be applied at least one hour before the start of a routine procedure and for two hours before the start of a painful procedure. Additionally, they state that the duration of effective skin anesthesia will be at least one hour after removal of the occlusive dressing.
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