EMLA cream for painless skin testing: a preliminary report

Ann Allergy. 1994 Jul;73(1):40-2.


The purposes of this open study were to evaluate the anesthetic properties of eutectic mixture of local anesthetics (EMLA) prior to intradermal skin testing and to evaluate the possible effect of EMLA on the extent of wheal and flare reaction. Subjects included 40 patients, ranging from 1 to 9 years of age. The eutectic mixture of local anesthetics was applied in a 2-mm thickness to the upper outer arm, covered with a dressing, and allowed to remain in place for one hour. Complete anesthesia was obtained in 36 of the 40 cases (90%), and partial anesthesia occurred in two additional patients. There were no significant differences in wheal or flare reactions between treated and untreated skin. Side effects were minimal. This preliminary report indicates that EMLA cream appears to be a safe and effective means of achieving local anesthesia prior to intradermal skin injection. It does not jeopardize the validity of test results.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics, Local / adverse effects
  • Anesthetics, Local / pharmacology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Combinations
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / physiopathology
  • Infant
  • Lidocaine / adverse effects
  • Lidocaine / pharmacology*
  • Lidocaine, Prilocaine Drug Combination
  • Prilocaine / adverse effects
  • Prilocaine / pharmacology*
  • Skin Tests* / methods


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Drug Combinations
  • Lidocaine, Prilocaine Drug Combination
  • Prilocaine
  • Lidocaine