Topical anaesthetics for premature ejaculation: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Sex Health. 2016 Apr;13(2):114-23. doi: 10.1071/SH15042.


Eutectic Mixture of Local Anaesthetics (EMLA) is recommended for use off-label as a treatment for premature ejaculation (PE). Other topical anaesthetics are available, some of which have been evaluated against oral treatments. The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate the evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) for topical anaesthetics in the management of PE. Bibliographic databases including MEDLINE were searched to August 2014. The primary outcome was intra-vaginal ejaculatory latency time (IELT). Methodological quality of RCTs was assessed. IELT and other outcomes were pooled across RCTs in a meta-analysis. Between-trial heterogeneity was assessed. Nine RCTs were included. Seven were of unclear methodological quality. Pooled evidence (two RCTs, 43 participants) suggests that EMLA is significantly more effective than placebo at increasing IELT (P<0.00001). Individual RCT evidence also suggests that Topical Eutectic-like Mixture for Premature Ejaculation (TEMPE) spray and lidocaine gel are both significantly more effective than placebo (P=0.003; P<0.00001); and lidocaine gel is significantly more effective than sildenafil or paroxetine (P=0.01; P=0.0001). TEMPE spray is associated with significantly more adverse events than placebo (P=0.003). More systemic adverse events are reported with tramadol, sildenafil and paroxetine than with lidocaine gel. Diverse methods of assessing sexual satisfaction and ejaculatory control with topical anaesthetics are reported and evidence is conflicting. Topical anaesthetics appear more effective than placebo, paroxetine and sildenafil at increasing IELT in men with PE. However, the methodological quality of the existing RCT evidence base is uncertain.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics, Local / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Premature Ejaculation / drug therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Anesthetics, Local