Lidocaine prilocaine cream vs. lidocaine cream

Written by krista sheehan
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Although both lidocaine/prilocaine cream and lidocaine cream contain the same major ingredient, the addition of prilocaine allows for the one cream to be used in a more advanced medical treatment. If a local anesthetic is necessary, it is important to understand the differences between the two creams.

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Lidocaine/prilocaine cream contains two main ingredients, both of which are anesthetics: lidocaine and prilocaine. Lidocaine cream simply contains the main ingredient lidocaine.


Both lidocaine/prilocaine cream and lidocaine cream function as local anesthetics. When applied to the skin, they prevent nerves from sending signals of pain to the brain.


Lidocaine/prilocaine cream is used to numb the skin before medical procedures, such as skin grafts or the insertion of IV lines. Lidocaine cream is used to treat pain or itching of the skin and mucous membranes; it is a common treatment for eczema, insect bites, minor burns and haemorrhoids.


Lidocaine/prilocaine cream should be applied directly to the skin, but should not be rubbed in. Place an airtight bandage over the area, which should be cleansed thoroughly just before the medical procedure. Lidocaine cream is also applied directly to the skin, although it should be rubbed into the skin slightly, but the area should not be covered or bandaged unless specifically requested by a doctor.

Side Effects

Both types of anesthetic cream may cause side effects, such as redness, swelling, burning or unusual sensations at the site of application. If a severe allergic reaction occurs (rash, difficulty breathing, swelling), it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

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