The Effectiveness of EMLA as a Primary Dressing on Painful Chronic Leg Ulcers: Effects on Wound Healing and Health-Related Quality of Life

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This study aimed to evaluate the effect of EMLA 5% cream applied to painful chronic leg ulcers (CLUs) as a primary dressing on wound healing and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). A pilot, parallel-group, nonblinded, randomized controlled trial was conducted in 6 community nursing procedure clinics in New South Wales, Australia. A total of 60 participants with painful CLUs of varied etiology were randomly assigned to the intervention (EMLA daily for 4 weeks as a primary dressing, followed by usual care) or usual care only. Wound size and HRQoL were measured at baseline, end of the intervention period (week 4), and week 12. At baseline, wound sizes were similar for both the intervention and control groups. During the intervention period, there was no significant difference in wound sizes between groups (intervention group: median (cm2) = 2.4, IQR = 1.3-12.7; control group: median (cm2) = 5.0, IQR = 2.5-9.9; P = .05). Mean HRQoL scores for all subscales at baseline and weeks 4 and 12 were similar between groups except for Wellbeing, which was significantly higher in the intervention group at the end of the 4-week intervention period (intervention group: mean = 52.41, SD = 24.50; control group: mean = 38.15, SD = 21.25; P = .03; d = 0.62). The trial findings suggest that daily applications of EMLA as a primary dressing do not inhibit wound healing and may improve patient well-being. Studies with larger samples are required to more comprehensively evaluate the impact of this treatment on wound healing and HRQoL.

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