A randomized, double-blind comparison study of EMLA® and ELA-Max® for topical anesthesia in children undergoing intravenous insertion

Jeffrey Koh, Dale Harrison, Robert Myers, Robert Dembinski, Helen Turner, Terrence McGraw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Scopus citations


Background: Topical anesthetics may help reduce discomfort associated with procedures involving needle-puncture, such as intravenous (i.v.) insertions, in children. EMLA® cream has become a common, noninvasive therapy for topical anesthesia in children. ELA-Max® is a recently introduced topical anesthetic cream marketed as being as effective in producing topical anesthesia after a 30-min application as EMLA® is after a 60-min application. The purpose of this research was to compare ELA-Max® at 30 min with EMLA® at 60 min for providing topical anesthesia for i.v. insertions in children. Methods: Sixty children, ages 8-17 years, requiring an i.v. were randomized to receive either the 30 min application of ELA-Max® (n = 30) or the 60 min application of EMLA® (n = 30). Children rated any pain associated with the i.v. insertion using a 100-mm Visual Analog Scale (VAS). The anesthesiologist assessed the presence of blanching at the site and rated the difficulty of placing the i.v. Results: There was no clinically or statistically significant difference in pain ratings (P = 0.87) between the ELA-Max® (mean = 25.7) and the EMLA® (mean = 26.8) groups. ELA-Max® caused significantly (P = 0.04) less blanching than EMLA®, however there was no difference in the anesthesiologists' rating of the difficulty of the i.v. placement between the groups (P = 0.73). Conclusion: Results from this study support the claim that a 30-min application of ELA-Max® (with occlusion) is as effective as a 60-min application of EMLA® (with occlusion) for producing topical anesthesia for i.v. insertion in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-982
Number of pages6
JournalPaediatric Anaesthesia
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2004



  • Children
  • ELA-Max®
  • EMLA®
  • Intravenous insertion
  • Pain
  • Topical anesthesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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