1. Anderson, Steven BSN, RN
  2. Cockrell, Jean BSN, RN
  3. Beller, Pat MA, PhD, RN
  4. Murphy, Elizabeth BSBA, RN, CEN
  5. Nelson, Pat BSN, MSN, RN
  6. Hawkins, Myra PharmD
  7. Cederna-Moss, Joan MSN, RN


The purpose of this study was to compare a variety of local anesthetic agents before starting an intravenous (IV) device to determine which method is the most comfortable for patients. Using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, pretest-posttest experimental design, the study compared 5 treatment groups (anesthetic spray, placebo spray, anesthetic intradermal injection, placebo intradermal injection, and a control group with no local anesthetic agent) in 84 emergency department patients. Pain was measured with a visual analog scale before and after the application of the local anesthetic agents and after IV insertion. Pain was significantly higher in the anesthetic intradermal injection group 1 minute after anesthetic application compared with the other treatment groups. Pain ratings 3 minutes after IV insertion were found to be similar for the 5 treatment groups. These study results do not support the use of intradermal anesthetic agents before IV catheter insertion.