The Effectiveness of EMLA as a Primary Dressing on Painful Chronic Leg Ulcers: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

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OBJECTIVE:To evaluate the effectiveness of the eutectic mixture of local anesthetics (EMLA; Aspen Pharmacare, St. Leonards, New South Wales, Australia) as a primary dressing on painful chronic leg ulcers.DESIGN:A pilot randomized controlled trial.SETTING:The study was conducted across 6 community nursing procedure clinics located in a community nursing service in New South Wales, Australia.PARTICIPANTS:Sixty participants with painful chronic leg ulcers of varied etiology were recruited into the study.INTERVENTION:Participants were randomly assigned to an intervention (daily EMLA use for 4 weeks as a primary dressing) or a standard wound care group.MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:The effectiveness of EMLA on wound-related pain intensity before, during, and after dressing change.MAIN RESULTS:Mean pain scores were similar between the 2 groups at baseline (P = .84). During dressing change, mean pain scores across the 4-week intervention period were significantly lower in the intervention compared with the control group (intervention group: mean, 3.39 [SD, 2.16]; control group: mean, 4.82 [SD, 2.27]; P = .02). Mean pain scores after dressing change were also significantly lower for the intervention group over the 4-week intervention period (intervention group: mean, 2.71 [SD, 1.94]; control group: mean, 3.92 [SD, 2.03]; P = .03).CONCLUSIONS:Data from this pilot study suggest that EMLA as a primary dressing may be effective in reducing chronic leg ulcer pain during and after dressing change and warrant further evaluation.

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