The antibacterial properties of EMLA-cream. An in vitro study on common pathogenic bacteria

Abstract number: 1134_01_76

Berg J.O., Mössner B.K., Skov M.N., Gottrup F., Kolmos H.J.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the antibacterial properties of EMLA-cream on common wound pathogenic bacteria compared to lidocaine (lignocaine). Many local anesthetic drugs have antibacterial properties. EMLA-cream contain two anaesthetic drugs, lignocaine (25 mg/g) and prilocaine (25 mg/g). Little is known of the antimicrobial activity of this combination of compounds.


An in vitro study was performed on 5 ATCC strains and 5 clinical isolates of each of the following species: Staphylococcus aureus, mehticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Eschericia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Streptococcus pyogenes. The test organisms were exposed to a pure solution of EMLA-cream and a commercially available pure solution of lidocaine 1% over a 24-hour period and time-kill-curves were recorded.


The anaesthetic cream was forund to have a substantial antibacterial effect compared to growth controls. Lidocaine had antibacterial effects to a lesser extent. With the anaesthetic cream there was a rapid and significant kill of all the tested strains within two hours. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Eschericia coli were almost immediately killed.


EMLA-cream is an easily applicable and non-painful way of topical anaesthesia. It can be used for example prior to bedside debridement of a chronic wound. The cream has significant antibacterial properties on common wound pathogenic bacteria in vitro. In the clinical setting, as a positive side effect to the anaesthetic effect, EMLA-cream may minimise the risk of iatrogenic bacterial spread and transient bacteraemia during wound debridement.

Session Details

Date: 01/08/2007
Time: 00:00-00:00
Session name: XXIst ISTH Congress
Location: Oxford, UK
Presentation type:
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