Limit sucrose as painkiller for newborns

June 30, 2008

Using sucrose to reduce pain in newborns undergoing painful procedures should be limited to babies having blood taken (venipuncture) for the newborn screening test but not for intramuscular injections, write Dr. Anna Taddio and co-authors.

In this double-blind, randomized controlled trial of 240 newborns at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, researchers found that "sucrose reduced overall pain in newborns when administered before painful medical procedures during the first 2 days after birth." However, "unexpectedly, we did not observe analgesic effects during either intramuscular injection of vitamin K in either group [newborns of diabetic and nondiabetic mothers] or during repeated heel-lancing for blood glucose monitoring in newborns of diabetic mothers."

As all newborns experience pain from medical procedures in the first days of life, the results of this study will be helpful in reducing pain responses. The authors recommend updating pain management guidelines to reflect these findings.
-end-


Canadian Medical Association Journal

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