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Pain control in the surgical debridement of leg ulcers by the use of a topical lidocaine--prilocaine cream, EMLA.

Author(s): Holm J, Andren B, Grafford K

Affiliation(s): Department of Surgery, Sahlgrenska Sjukhuset, University of Goteborg, Sweden.

Publication date & source: 1990, Acta Derm Venereol., 70(2):132-6.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

The analgesic effect of EMLA 5% cream for surgical cleansing of leg ulcers was investigated in an open study and in a double-blind comparison with placebo. Eighty patients with ulcers of venous or arterial origin participated. The cream was applied under occlusion and removed before cleansing. Plasma concentrations of lidocaine and prilocaine were assessed. The maximum individual concentrations were 0.8 microgram/ml for lidocaine and 0.08 microgram/ml for prilocaine. Pain was assessed according to a verbal rating scale and on a 100 mm visual analogue scale. The median VAS pain scores for EMLA and placebo were 18.5 and 84 mm (p less than 0.01). There were no severe adverse reactions. The results show that there is a need for pain control in surgical debridement of leg ulcers and that EMLA cream gives satisfactory analgesia for this procedure.

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