The pain of the needle is necessary for vaccines, medical tests and in some cases, life-saving treatments. But some Tampa Bay area doctors are testing ways to make the needle prick painless, and patients across the country could end up benefiting from this local research.
Patients like 17-year-old Emelie Silver. She recently went from healthy high schooler to pediatric patient when doctors had to remove her gall bladder. Surgery was scheduled, but not before two IVs, dreaded blood tests, and lots of needle sticks to get to hard-to-find veins.
"They were just poking and poking and poking, and it was difficult to watch that," her Mom Deb says. "Her veins are hard to find. It was terrible,"
She and others could soon avoid the pain of the needle, thanks to some medical magic. Doctors and nurses at Florida Hospital Tampa are testing a class of medicines they simply call magic creams.
"We've been working a long time on ways to numb the skin, without an injection, to make needle sticks more tolerable," said Dr. James Orlowski, chief of pediatrics at Florida Hospital Tampa.
To do that, nurses apply one of two different medicines. One is called LMX Cream. It's applied 45 minutes before the needle stick. The other is called a Synera Pad. The active pain killer is housed in a bandage and needs 20 minutes to set.
Dr. Orlowski believes children and parents will benefit once these magic creams become mainstream.
"Everybody is used to the kid screaming bloody murder when the kid is stuck for the vaccine and the blood draw. You expect the child to scream and cry and be upset. Can you imagine taking your 6-month-old baby in for vaccines, and instead of screaming and crying, it doesn't even react because the skin has been numbed, that's what we'd like to see," Orlowski said.
Before that can happen, patients like Chris Pettit will help compare which magic cream offers the most relief. Pettit recently spent three days in the hospital trying the meds out, and he noticed a difference.
"When she puts the needle inside, I feel no pain at all," he said.
Dr. Orlowski says so far, the results have been positive.
"They are amazed, they don't expect it," he said.
Magic creams come at a price: LMX costs a dollar a tube, and each Synera Pad costs $15. But parents like Emilie's mom say it's worth every penny.
"It would be fantastic, especially for a child, because they are not aware why you need an IV. For them, they are already feeling bad. Something's poking me, and it feels worse," Deb said.
If Emelie needs additional blood tests, she'll be eligible to try a magic cream, which could possibly help ease the pain of her hospital stay.
"I think just about everyone is afraid of needles. I think it would take a little bit of the edge out of it," she says.
For more information:
Synera Patch Information
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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