EMLA cream is a topical cream designed and manufactured by AstraZeneca pharmaceutical company to be used to provide short to medium-length localized dermal anaesthesia. Based on a combination of two active ingredients, namely prilocaine and lidocaine, EMLA temporary desensitizes an area of skin. It is commonly used prior to injection or vaccination in people who have hard time dealing with needles, but it also often applied prior to minor cosmetic procedures including cryotherapy, piercings, tattoos, laser hair removal and similar.

If you are looking to buy EMLA in the UK, you should keep in mind that this medicine can be obtained only with a valid prescription issued by a certified medical professional. Aside from intended application in the aforementioned procedures, EMLA is also commonly used as an off-label solution for premature ejaculation.

But first, let’s take a look at what is topical anaesthesia and how it works.

What’s on this page:

What is topical anaesthesia and how it works?

Some people who are about to undergo a routine skin procedure, either cosmetic or medical, might opt to request the of use topical anaesthesia. This type of medicines is very adept at numbing the area and thus preventing pain or discomfort caused by needle insertion or other procedures that might otherwise be uncomfortable for the person being operated on. As such, topical anaesthetics are commonly used during vaccinations or blood tests, as well as in tattoo and piercing studios.

EMLA (acronym for Eutectic Mixture of Local Anaesthetics) is a combined treatment based on two different active ingredients, namely lidocaine and prilocaine. Both of these are types of anaesthetics that temporarily numb the area of skin they are applied to by preventing sodium from occupying the specific nerve endings where the sensation of pain is generally felt.

As a topical cream, EMLA is very simple to use – it is just applied to the skin and covered for a specified amount of time underneath a dressing (usually between two and five hours depending on the reason for use). Your doctor or pharmacist will determine the exact amount of time you need to leave cream on.

Premature ejaculation: A short overview

Premature ejaculation, sometimes abbreviated to PE, is a condition that is not easily definable since there is no hard line to draw and say what is premature and what not, especially since sexual preferences, habits and appetites vary extremely from couple to couple. While laymen tend to think about this issue as a situation where the male partner climaxes before the female partner does, for more medicinal purposes, PE is usually said to be a condition where a man, on a consistent basis, experiences ejaculation within just one to two minutes following sexual penetration.

There is a commonly used differentiation between so-called primary and secondary PE.

The first of those, primary PE is also known as ‘lifelong PE’ due to the fact that this type of condition is consistently present throughout a person’s sexually active life. In a majority of cases, primary PE is caused by psychological factors, including what the doctors refer to as conditioning – a situation in which the person affected by PE is simply used to ejaculate quickly following sexual stimulation as it has been a part of his sexual life from an early age. On the other hand, upbringing and personal life history can also play a prominent role in the development of this problem.

On the other hand, secondary PE develops later in life, following a history of otherwise normal ejaculatory function. While psychological factors can play a role in the onset of secondary PE too, in a significant number of cases it can be caused by an undiagnosed condition such as prostate disease or an overactive thyroid gland. On the other hand, stress, sexual or performance anxiety have also been identified as significant contributing factors. In newer relationships where people might be even more eager to perform, the risk of premature ejaculation can be even higher.

How to prevent premature ejaculation?

Naturally, the most effective way of preventing PE will be determined by the reasons behind this condition. In other words, there is no one-for-all solution that will work in all cases, which in turn led to proliferation of various self-help techniques, methods and OTC treatment that are supposed to reduce the likelihood of premature ejaculation.

Some of the most common methods include using a thick condom to reduce sensitivity, having female partner on top and taking short breaks during sex. Certain couples also employ so-called squeeze method aimed to ‘train’ the male partner to last longer. This method involves partner masturbating the man to the point of ejaculation and then stopping and squeezing the head of the penis for 20 seconds and then waiting for additional 30 seconds before commencing masturbation again. This sequence is generally repeated as many times as possible before the man ejaculates.

However, if neither of these methods work, then one might opt to seek out treatment.

Premature ejaculation medicines

Treatments for PE are, in most cases, designed to reduce sexual sensitivity in the person affected, thus making it possible to have a prolonged sexual contact. This is why a majority of available treatments, just like EMLA are topical creams that will numb the nerves underneath the skin. This most general mechanism of action is built on the knowledge that both pain and pleasure are experienced when nerve receptors are stimulated and the appropriate ‘signal’ is transmitted to the brain. Topical anaesthetics can interrupt this process and stop these signals before they are sent out towards the brain.

How does EMLA help with premature ejaculation?

EMLA (Eutectic Mixture of Local Anaesthetics) is a topical anaesthetic cream developed and marketed by AstraZeneca pharmaceutical company. Its efficiency in preventing premature ejaculation relies on its two active ingredients, prilocaine and idocaine. When in contact with the skin, both of these compounds will get absorbed and reach the nerves which they will numb down, preventing the feelings of pain – although when used for PE prevention, they can just as successfully prevent the feelings of pleasure too.

Are there any EMLA side effects?

As is the case with all prescription medications, certain side effects have been documented. You should stop using the cream if you notice any signs and symptoms indicative of an allergic reaction:

  • Rash
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling of the face, lips or tongue
  • Bluish-grey skin colour

If you develop an allergic reaction to EMLA, it is also highly advisable to contact your emergency service and ask for advice.

When it comes to other, less serious side effects, we can mention the following:

Frequency of occurrence

Side effects

Common (1 in 10 users)

·      Redness at the site of application

·      Slight swelling

·      Paleness of the skin

Uncommon (1 in 100 users)

·      Mild burning or itching sensation

·      Tingling

Rare (1 in 1000 users)

·      Small red dots at the application site

·      Rash-like symptoms