Using a topical anaesthetic cream to reduce pain during sharp debridement of chronic leg ulcers
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This multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study assessed the efficacy and safety of using Emla (lignocaine/prilocaine) anaesthetic cream to achieve pain control during sharp debridement of chronic leg ulcers of arterial, venous or arteriovenous aetiology. A total of 101 patients (51 Emla, 50 placebo), aged 29-99 years, who had experienced pain associated with previous debridement were included. Patients with an amide anaesthetic allergy, anaesthetic diabetic ulcers, or ulcers > 50 cm2 were excluded. Debridement was initiated approximately 30 minutes after the application of a thick layer of Emla or placebo cream to an ulcer occluded with a plastic wrap. The patient and investigator assessed the pain associated with debridement on a 100 mm visual analogue scale (VAS). The median patient VAS scores were 18 mm and 53.5 mm in the Emla and placebo groups, respectively (p < 0.0001). The corresponding investigator values in the two groups were 20 mm and 49.5 mm, respectively (p = 0.004). Local reactions were mainly transient and mild, and were observed in roughly the same percentage of placebo and Emla-treated patients. After a 30-minute application Emla cream significantly reduced the pain of debridement compared with the placebo.
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