Measurement of methemoglobin after EMLA analgesia for newborn circumcision

Biol Neonate. 1996;70(4):213-7. doi: 10.1159/000244367.


A statistically significant (p = 0.049) increase in methemoglobin (MetHb), which did not exceed normal values, was noted 8 h after application of 1 g of EMLA (Eutectic Mixture of Local Anesthetics) to the foreskin of 10 normal newborns to reduce pain associated with circumcision. The highest MetHb concentration observed was 3 g/l (toxic > 50 g/l). No infant showed clinical signs of methemoglobinemia. We conclude that EMLA is safe to use as a local anesthetic in term neonates.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia*
  • Anesthetics, Local*
  • Circumcision, Male*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lidocaine / adverse effects*
  • Lidocaine, Prilocaine Drug Combination
  • Male
  • Methemoglobinemia / chemically induced*
  • Prilocaine / adverse effects*


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