What is EMLA cream?
EMLA cream is a treatment used to help with premature ejaculation (PE). It's an anaesthetic (numbing) cream that's applied directly to the penis before sex. Reducing the sensation in the penis can help to delay orgasm so you can have sex for longer.
EMLA cream is available in two tube sizes: 5g or 30g.
What is EMLA cream used for?
EMLA (lidocaine/prilocaine) cream is normally used as a local anaesthetic (numbing agent) for various purposes, for e.g. needle insertion.
It's also commonly used for the treatment of premature ejaculation.
How does EMLA cream work?
The active ingredients in EMLA cream are 25mg of lidocaine and 25mg of prilocaine, which are both local anaesthetic agents.
This numbing quality of EMLA cream reduces sensitivity in the area to which it's applied. Reducing sensitivity in the penis can help to delay ejaculation for some men.
How to use EMLA cream
Apply a pea sized amount of EMLA cream over the underside of the head of the penis where it meets the shaft. You should apply it 15-30 minutes prior to sexual activity as this is how long it takes EMLA cream to work. Make sure to rinse it off before intercourse.
Condoms should be used if your partner is pregnant.
EMLA cream is oil based and may weaken latex condoms, increasing the risk of them splitting. Consider purchasing polyurethane condoms, which won't be weakened by EMLA and will be more reliable as a precaution against pregnancy or transmission of sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Is EMLA cream effective?
It's effective in up to 77% of men at increasing the time it takes to orgasm. This means that up to 7.7 out of 10 men will notice an improvement in symptoms.
What are the main side effects of EMLA cream?
Like all medicines, EMLA cream comes with the possibility of side effects. For full details on possible side effects, please ensure you read the treatment plan we send and the medicine Patient Information Leaflet:
The most common side effects are skin irritation and genital numbness. This can also affect your partner, so remember to wash off the cream before sexual activity.
If you're concerned about any side effects you experience, please contact us through your online patient record.
What else should I know about EMLA cream?
It is used "off-label" for the treatment of premature ejaculation.
This means it does not have a product licence for this particular condition but is commonly used and prescribed for premature ejaculation.
What are alternative PE treatments?
We can also prescribe Priligy or Paroxetine tablets to help treat PE. Both work by boosting the levels of serotonin in the body, which can cause a delayed reaction in the areas of the brain that trigger ejaculation.
What are the non-drug alternatives to EMLA cream?
Some men find counselling helpful to explore any underlying relationship issues or psychological causes that may be contributing to premature ejaculation.
Other things you could try to help with PE are:
- Masturbate 1 to 2 hours before having sex
- Use a thick condom to help decrease sensation
- Take a deep breath to briefly shut down the ejaculatory reflex
- Take breaks during sex
- Distract yourself by thinking about something completely different
- Try the 'squeeze' technique - squeezing the end of the penis at the point where the glans joins the shaft for several seconds until the urge to ejaculate passes
- Condoms containing local anaesthetic can be used as an alternative
What is PE?
Premature Ejaculation (PE) is the inability to control ejaculation. This often means when you have sex, you ejaculate earlier than you would like and can't continue long enough to satisfy both yourself and your partner.
It's a common ejaculation problem that many men experience at some point in their lives.
PE is not the same as erectile dysfunction (ED), which is when a man has issues getting or maintaining an erection hard enough for sex. Find out more about ED here.
If you experience ED as well as PE, it's a good idea to treat your ED first as this can actually improve PE symptoms also.
What causes PE?
Psychological and physical factors can both play a part in PE. It's thought that stress and performance anxiety can cause it, along with depression or relationship issues.
For some men, oversensitivity of the penis can cause ejaculation problems, as can nerve damage. Occasionally PE can be a symptom of a more serious medical condition, like prostate problems.
How long does EMLA cream last?
The numbing effects of EMLA cream can last for up to two hours but the effects could wear off quicker.
Where can I buy EMLA cream?
When EMLA cream is being used for premature ejaculation you will need a prescription.
You can request EMLA cream online from UK regulated pharmacies like Boots Online Doctor. We offer expert, convenient care and advice without the hassle of making a doctor's appointment.
You won't need to talk to anyone directly. Simply fill out our quick online questionnaire and one of our friendly clinicians will make sure you get the premature ejaculation treatment and support you need.
If suitable for you, we can prescribe EMLA cream or other PE treatments for collection or to be delivered to your door in discreet packaging in as little as two days. We offer EMLA cream in 5g or 30g tube sizes.
You can purchase EMLA cream over the counter from your local pharmacy or online without a prescription if it is being used as a numbing agent for other conditions.
Is EMLA suitable for me?
Men aged 18 and over can use EMLA cream to help treat issues with premature ejaculation.
This medicine may not be suitable for you if you or your partner has a known history of sensitivity to local anaesthetics of the amide type.
EMLA cream is not suitable for you if you have a G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) deficiency or certain blood disorders (such as hereditary or idiopathic methaemoglobinaemia).
It's very important you tell us about your medical history and any medicines you take when completing our online questionnaire.