The time of onset and duration of local anesthesia of a lidocaine/prilocaine cream (EMLA) applied to the genital mucosa were assessed in a double-blind study. Eighty women with condylomata on their genital mucosa were randomly allocated to either EMLA (N = 60) or placebo cream (N = 20) between 1-75 minutes before CO2 laser treatment. The pain was evaluated by the patient on a visual analogue scale. The most effective degree of anesthesia was achieved after 5-15 minutes' application of EMLA. The patients given EMLA, regardless of application time, felt significantly less pain than the patients given placebo. EMLA could provide an alternative to general anesthesia in patients with extensive condylomata on the genital mucosa.