Topically administered local anesthetics are useful in dermatology for preparation of the skin prior to minor surgical procedures, such as skin biopsies, laser treatment of vascular malformations, and curettage of mol-luscum contagiosum lesions, particularly in young children and needle-phobic adults. The topical anesthetic may be used alone or may be applied prior to intradermal injection of a local anesthetic to reduce the pain caused by the needle. Two recently approved drugs in this group are ELA-Max, a topical formulation of lido-caine, and EMLA, which contains a mixture of lido-caine and prilocaine.
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