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Does Freezy Spray Really Work?

April 12, 2017

Short Attention Span Summary

Does freezy spray really work?
It does, but EMLA works better according to this randomized crossover trial of children 6-12 years old.

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Vapocoolant spray reduces pain from IV cannulation in the ED.  If there is time, EMLA cream is even more effective.


Am J Emerg Med. 2017 Feb 27. pii: S0735-6757(17)30153-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2017.02.039. [Epub ahead of print]

Comparing the effectiveness of vapocoolant spray and lidocaine/procaine cream in reducing pain of intravenous cannulation: A randomized clinical trial.

Dalvandi A1, Ranjbar H2, Hatamizadeh M3, Rahgoi A4, Bernstein C5.

Author information:

1 University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address: dalvandi@uswr.ac.ir.

2 Mental Health Research Center, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address: ranjbar.h@iums.ac.ir.

3 University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address: maryamhatamizadeh@gmail.com.

4 University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address: rahgouin@yahoo.com.

5 Department of Psychology, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Electronic address: Colleen.Bernstein@wits.ac.za.



Venous cannulation is the most common procedure in emergency departments. The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of vapocoolant spray and EMLA cream in reduction of pain during venous cannulation in 6-12years old children.


The study was a randomized clinical trial with a crossover design. It took place between June and December 2015 at Ali-Asghar hospital in Tehran, Iran. 40 Thalassemic children who need regular blood transfusions were randomly assigned in two groups. The pain of intravenous cannulation was measured using a visual analogue scale for pain (VAS-P). With the crossover design each patient received vapocoolant spray and EMLA cream in the next two visits. The patients were allocated into two groups (A and B). The patients in Group (A) received Vapocoolant spray in the first visit and EMLA cream in the second visit before intravenous cannulation. The patients in Group (B) group were exposed to the opposite order.


The pain after Vapocoolant spray was 3.22±1.18 which was significantly lower than control (7.12±1.36) and higher than EMLA cream (0.77±1.09), p>0.001. The anxiety before cannulation had a significant effects on the reported pain by children. The ANCOVA showed that despite the effects of anxiety the results did not change significantly.


The results indicated that vapocoolant spray was not as effective as EMLA cream, in the event of an emergency and in patients with allergic reactions to lidocaine and procaine ingredients Vapocoolant is an efficacious alternative.

Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID: 28285862

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