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Emla is a local anaesthetic containing two active ingredients; Lidocaine and Prilocaine. It is used to numb an area of the skin to prevent discomfort. It is also commonly used on the skin of the penis, reducing sensitivity and helping men to alleviate premature ejaculation issues.

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What is Emla

Emla cream is a topical local anaesthetic cream licensed for use in alleviating the discomfort associated with injections and minor surgical procedures by numbing the desired area. It is typically used to numb the skin before procedures such as tattoo removal.

It can also be used "off-label" treat symptoms of Premature Ejaculation, with clinical studies reporting an increase in a mans ability to be able to last longer during intercourse by up to 6 times.

What is "off-label"?

An off-label use of a treatment means that a medicine is used to treat a different treatment to the one it was originally licensed for. This can occur from time to time whilst clinical data is being collected regarding the effectiveness of a treatment. In the case of Emla, studies have been done to highlight the effectiveness in helping sufferers of Premature Ejaculation. Click here to read the studies

How Does Emla Work?

Emla acts as a numbing agent (local anaesthetic), ensuring that the treated area is markedly less responsive. The ingredients, Lidocaine and Prilocaine, act to prevent pain signals being sent from the nerve endings in the affected area to the brain, thereby numbing the patient to minor discomfort. In the case of Premature Ejaculation, EMLA numbs the penis, and increases the Intravaginal Ejaculation Latency Time (IELT) by up to 6 times.

What is Emla used for?

It is used to numb an area of skin prior to the administration of injections

It is used to numb areas prior to minor skin surgery, such as the removal of warts, for example.

It can also be used to treat Premature Ejaculation. Emla is currently unlicensed for use in the treatment of PE and should only be considered once other forms of treatment have been exhausted. However, studies have shown that application of Emla 20-30 minutes prior to intercourse results in an increase of intravaginal ejaculation latency time (IELT) by up to 6 times.

How to use Emla

Start by applying a small, pea-sized amount to the head of the penis (glans) up to 20-30 minutes prior to intercourse. Caution should be taken with the amount used as it is a local anaesthetic. If you are in doubt about how much to use, please contact your GP or contact our clinical team to see assess how much is suitable.

CAUTION: Emla is formulated as an oil in water emulsion. As a result, there is a small risk that Emla may cause condoms to weaken. Please ensure you remove all of the cream before continuing sexual intercourse.

Side Effects

Emla cream can be applied directly to the skin of the penis, and can therefore result in relatively common side effects such as redness, swelling, tingling, burning and lightening of the skin.

It must be noted that Emla contains local anaesthetics. It is primarily used in surgery to numb patients before minor operations. With this in mind, the cream must be used sparingly when treating PE.

The following side effects are rare, but very serious:

  • slow / shallow breathing
  • pale/bluish skin around the mouth and lips
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • fast / slow / irregular heartbeat
  • mental / mood changes (i.e. confusion, nervousness)
  • seizures
  • severe drowsiness
  • blistering of the skin on the penis

It is very important that in the case of such side effects, you wash off the cream immediately and consult your doctor at once.

It is important you clarify with you doctor whether you are allergic to any of the ingredients in Emla cream before attempting to use it.

If you experience any of the following side effects, you may be having an allergic reaction:

  • urticaria (hives)
  • angioedema (rash / welts)
  • bronchospasm (constriction of bronchioles / difficulty breathing)
  • shock

You must stop using Emla and seek medical assistance at once if you suffer these symptoms.

For safe and effective use, you must use Emla in the correct manner and follow the above guidelines.


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Patient Information

Before taking any medication, it is important to read the Patient Information Leaflet. You can find the information by searching for your treatment on Medicines.org.uk.

If you have any questions about your treatment please refer to Medicines.org.uk or contact us.

Emla Patient Information Leaflet

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