Eutectic Mixture of Lidocaine and Prilocaine Decreases Movement and Propofol Requirements for Pediatric Lumbar Puncture During Deep Sedation: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double Blind Trial

J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2022 Jan 1;44(1):e213-e216. doi: 10.1097/MPH.0000000000002169.


Deep sedation/general anesthesia is commonly used in pediatric oncology patients undergoing lumbar puncture (LP). Propofol is often used for sedation, with or without a narcotic. We hypothesized that eutectic mixture of lidocaine and prilocaine (EMLA) would allow for lower cumulative doses of propofol and less movement. We performed a prospective, randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial in children undergoing sedation for LP. Standard initial weight-based doses of propofol and fentanyl were administered, with either EMLA cream or a placebo cream applied topically. The primary outcome was the total dose of propofol administered to each patient. We also tracked patient movement and complications. Twenty-seven patients underwent 152 LPs. Patients randomized to EMLA cream (n=75) were significantly more likely to receive a lower dose of propofol (2.94 mg/kg, SE=0.25, vs. 3.22 mg/kg, SE=0.19; P=0.036) and to not require additional propofol doses (probability 0.49, SE=0.08 vs. 0.69, SE=0.06; P=0.001) compared with patients randomized to placebo cream (n=77). In addition, patients with EMLA cream were significantly less likely to demonstrate minor or major movement. EMLA cream results in less movement and less propofol administration in pediatric oncology patients undergoing sedation for LP.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Deep Sedation*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lidocaine / administration & dosage*
  • Lidocaine / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Prilocaine / administration & dosage*
  • Prilocaine / adverse effects
  • Propofol / administration & dosage
  • Propofol / adverse effects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spinal Puncture*


  • Prilocaine
  • Lidocaine
  • Propofol