Emla Cream

  • Used to treat Premature Ejaculation
  • Reduces sensitivity in the penis and delays ejaculation
  • Helps Men to enjoy sexual intercourse for a longer period of time
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Emla cream for effective numbing of the skin

Emla cream is primarily used to numb the skin and reduce pain in preparation for certain procedures such as injections, needs, vaccinations, cosmetic procedures such as tattoos and piercings.

Emla cream is also an effective treatment for premature ejaculation in men which reduces sensitivity of the penis and helps to delay ejaculation.

You can buy emla cream online from Medicine Direct following an online consultation with our UK based prescribers.

What is Emla Cream?

Emla Cream is a local anaesthetic that is topically applied. A numbing cream, it helps to numb an area of skin, reducing its sensitivity to any sensations. Emla Cream contains two active ingredients, lidocaine and prilocaine.

It can be used for numbing the skin before an injection and minor procedures. It is also an effective treatment for premature ejaculation in men.

You can buy Emla Cream over the counter without needing a prescription.

What is Emla Cream used to treat?

Emla Cream works by temporarily disrupting the pathway of signals along your nerves. Local anaesthetics like Emla numbing cream can be applied before minor skin operations, such as the removal of leg ulcers. It is often applied to adults and children alike to numb the skin before blood tests. This makes it very popular among people who have a fear of needles.

You can also apply Emla before you have a tattoo, to alleviate the pain that comes with this procedure.

Additionally, Emla numbing cream is often used as an off-label treatment for premature ejaculation. It reduces the feeling in your penis and, as a result, reduces sensitivity and delays ejaculation. This means you can use it to enjoy sexual intercourse for longer, without the fear that you will ejaculate prematurely.

How does Emla Cream work?

As Emla Cream numbs the penis slightly, so the speed in which a man ejaculates is reduced. When the cream is applied to the penis, certain signals passed along the nerve fibres of the penis to the brain are suppressed, which helps to reduce sensation in the penis. This makes the penis less sensitive, which helps to delay ejaculation.

How to use Emla Cream

For premature ejaculation

  1. Apply the cream before sexual intercourse.
  2. Pull back the foreskin and apply a pea-sized amount of cream to the underside of the penis’s head and shaft.
  3. Allow the cream 15 to 30 minutes to get to work before you have sex.
  4. Wash the cream off before having sex. Make sure all of the cream has been removed before you have sex, as Emla may be transferred to your sexual partner and reduce their sensitivity too.

Follow your doctor or pharmacist’s instructions when using Emla Cream for premature ejaculation. The instructions contained in the patient information leaflet do not provide guidance on using Emla for this problem.

If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Who can use Emla Cream?

This cream may not be suitable for everyone to use. Speak to your doctor before applying the cream if you have any of the following conditions:

  • You are anaemic
  • You have glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency – a rare inherited illness which affects your blood
  • You have methaemoglobinaemia – a problem with blood pigment levels
  • You have atopic dermatitis

Always read the patient information leaflet thoroughly before using Emla numbing cream. Speak to your doctor if you have any doubts or concerns before you start to use this medicine.

Emla Cream Side Effects

As with all local anaesthetics, Emla Cream does come with a risk of certain side effects, no matter what you may be using the cream for. However, not everyone will suffer from side effects.

Speak to your doctor if any of the following adverse effects bother you:

  • A transient local skin reaction (such as paleness, redness, or swelling) in the area you have used the treatment
  • A mild burning sensation on the area you have applied the treatment

This list is not exhaustive. Please, refer to the Side Effects tab on this page for a list of more serious and rarer undesired effects you may experience while you use Emla Cream.

Please also read the patient information leaflet for more information on side effects.

Can you buy Emla Cream over the counter?

Yes, Emla Cream can be bought over the counter from pharmacies without needing a prescription.

Can you buy Emla Cream online in the UK?

You can buy Emla Cream online from Medicine Direct. All you need to do is fill out an online consultation questionnaire for one of our prescribers to make sure it is safe for you to use.

Next day delivery is available if you place your order by 2pm.

You do not need a prescription for Emla Cream, but you should still only order it from a regulated pharmacy like ours. This will make sure you only order a safe and genuine version of the medicine.

Emla Cream alternatives

At Medicine Direct, we also stock the prescription medicine Priligy tablets for premature ejaculation. This oral medicine has been found to be an effective treatment for premature ejaculation in around 80% of men who take it. It gets to work after around two hours and allows you to enjoy a longer and less stressful sexual experience.

If you feel that your problem is caused by anxiety or a psychological issue, speaking to a sex therapist may also help you to combat premature ejaculation.

Emla Cream Dosage

Our pharmacists and prescribers follow NICE prescribing guidelines when prescribing EMLA Cream.

Always follow your doctor's instructions when using Emla Cream. If you have any questions, speak to your doctor before you use the medication. A 5g tube of this cream equates to about 2g of Emla.

Emla Cream is for external use only; it should only be applied to the surface of the skin. Do not ingest the medicine.

Avoid contact with your eyes and nostrils. If you get any Emla Cream in your eyes, you should rinse your eyes thoroughly with clean water. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any adverse reactions as a result.

Emla numbing cream should not be used on the following areas:

  • Inside the anus
  • Inside your nose, ears or mouth
  • Anywhere on your body where you have a skin rash or eczema
  • Anywhere you may have cuts, grazes or wounds, not including leg ulcers
  • In or near your eyes
  • On the genitals of children

How long should I leave Emla cream on for?


Emla’s numbing effects normally last for at least two hours. You can leave the cream on the skin for up to five hours if you are applying it for a tattoo appointment or a minor procedure. However, if you are applying it to prevent premature ejaculation, leave it to work for up to 30 minutes and then wash it off before having sex.

How long does Emla last?


Emla cream will normally last for at least two hours once it has been applied.

Is Emla the same as lidocaine?


Lidocaine is a local anaesthetic and one of the active ingredients contained in Emla Cream. It is contained in several other numbing creams.

How long does it take to work?


Most people will start to notice the effects after around 30 minutes, although it may take longer for some users. If you are using this cream for premature ejaculation, do not leave the cream on for longer than 30 minutes; this can numb the penis to the point where you cannot have sex.

Will it affect my contraception?


Emla cream can be used with non-latex condoms. Because this cream is oil-based, it can weaken latex condoms and make them more likely to split.

Can I drive or ride a bike after using it?


Yes, Emla will not affect your ability to drive, cycle or operate machinery.

What should I do if I apply too much?


To treat premature ejaculation, you should only apply a pea-sized amount of cream to the penis. If you apply more than you should, wash the cream off straight away. Applying too much lidocaine can cause serious side effects, some of which can be life-threatening. If you get any side effects, tell your doctor straight away.

Can I apply it anally?


You should not apply Emla cream internally. This includes in the anus

Will it have any effect on my fertility?


There is no research to suggest that Emla will have any effect on male or female fertility. However, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

Can I use Emla Cream for haemorrhoids?


This medicine is not designed to treat haemorrhoids. Other topical creams are more suitable for this problem. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

Emla Cream Side Effects

The more common side effects associated with Elma Cream can be found on the main product page.

The below side effects are uncommon and may affect up to 1 in every 100 people:

  • Irritation of the treated skin when used for leg ulcers
  • Numbness in the treated area when used to treat genital mucosa
  • A mild burning, warm, or itching sensation of the treatment area of the skin when initially applied

Rarer side effects may include:

  • Allergic reactions (see below for more details) - seek immediate medical attention if you experience this
  • Methaemoglobinaemia during treatment of your skin
  • Irritation of your eyes if Emla Cream comes into contact with them during treatment
  • Small dot-shaped bleeding during treatment of your skin

Speak to a doctor if any of these side effects bother you.

Serious Side Effects

In rare instances, you may experience a serious allergic reaction to Emla Cream. You should either go to A&E or call 999 straight away if you experience any of the following symptoms. You may require immediate treatment in hospital:

  • You have a skin rash that is red, itchy, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin
  • You have swelling in your throat, lips, tongue, mouth, or face
  • You are wheezing
  • You have tightness in your chest or throat
  • You are having difficulty breathing or talking

These lists may not be exhaustive. Always read the patient information leaflet, which will come with your medicine, before you start to use this treatment. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns.

Emla Cream Warnings and drug interactions

Emla Cream may interact with other drugs you are already taking, which can inhibit the effectiveness of Emla Cream or increase your chances of experiencing side effects.

You should always make sure your doctor is aware of any other medicines you are already using, before you start using a new one. These include both prescription and non-prescription medicines, herbal remedies, vitamins, or supplements.

In particular, inform your doctor if you are currently taking any of the following medications:

  • Any medicines that are used to treat infections, such as ‘sulphonamides’ and nitrofurantoin
  • Any other local anaesthetic medicines
  • Cimetidine or beta-blockers – these may increase the blood levels of lidocaine.
  • Any medicines used to treat epilepsy, such as phenytoin and phenobarbital
  • Any medicines used to treat an uneven heartbeat, such as amiodarone

This list may not be exhaustive; always read the patient information leaflet for a comprehensive list of other medicines which may interact with the Prilocaine and medicines that may interact with Lidocaine, the active ingredients in Emla Cream.

If you have any questions or concerns at all about this medication, we strongly advise you to speak to your doctor about them before you start to use this treatment.

Never order any medicine online unless it is from a pharmacy registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPC), like Medicine Direct. We can guarantee you nothing but genuine versions of the medicines you purchase when you shop with us.

Your medicine will be with you in no time at all, and if you order before 2pm, you will benefit from next day delivery.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Emla numbing cream may not be suitable for women to use while they are pregnant. If you are currently pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant, you should make sure your doctor is aware.

Read more about using EMLA Cream during pregnacy and breastfeeding

Emla Cream should also not be used by women who are breastfeeding if you have not informed your doctor first.

Emla Cream Ingredients

The main active ingredients within this medicine are: Lidocaine and Prilocaine

Inactive ingredients also contained in this medication are: macrogolglycerol hydroxystearate, Carbomer 974P, sodium hydroxide and purified water.

Speak to your doctor before you use this cream if you have an allergy to any of these ingredients.

Delivery Company Delivery Service Price Details
Royal Mail UK Delivery Standard UK Tracked £2.99 3 - 4 Working Day Delivery
DPD UK Next Day Delivery Next Day Delivery - Tracked £5.95 Order by 2pm (subject to Dr approval) Next Working Day Delivery
DPD UK Next Day Delivery Next Day Tracked Morning Delivery by 12:00pm £12.95 Next Working Day Morning Delivery by 12:00pm
DPD UK Next Day Delivery Tracked Saturday Delivery £9.95

Delivery specified for Saturday

Order Friday by 2pm (subject to Dr approval)

Please note that next day delivery to Northern Ireland, Scottish Highlands & Islands and British Isles cannot be guaranteed. Please contact our team for more information.

Written byHussain Abdeh MPharm: 2211840

Published on: 12/10/2020

Updated on: 27/09/2021

This content has been written by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh and has been medically reviewed by our Pharmacist Sonia Khan

Hussain Abdeh Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct

Hussain Abdeh
MPharm: 2211840

Pharmacist Independent Prescriber

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