CONTROLLING PAIN: Using EMLA cream before venipuncture

January 2005 
Volume 35  Number 1
Pages 17 - 17
  PDF Version Available!



    QUESTION: I work in a pediatric unit caring for children and teens. I'm wondering why my colleagues don't use EMLA (eutectic mixture of local anesthetics) cream more often to ease the discomfort of venipuncture.

    ANSWER: Numerous studies have documented the benefits of EMLA cream at reducing the pain of various procedures children may undergo, including venipuncture, heel lances, and circumcision. Applied topically, EMLA cream penetrates the skin's epidermal and dermal layers, anesthetizing nerve endings for up to 4 hours. It's approved in the United States for use in patients of all ages, from birth (37 weeks of gestational age) on up.

    So why don't nurses apply it more often? Common reasons include lack of a prescriber's order and the assumption that it takes too long to take effect.

    You can encourage wider use of EMLA cream by advocating for standing orders that let nurses apply it in ...

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