Sucrose Analgesia for Simple Neonatal Procedures


Created by Dr Mike Fernando
Reviewed by Dr Karen Munro, Karen Anderson-Hawke, Bronwyn Jones, Diane Saint, and Brenda Hughes

Updated June 2008
Clinical Guidelines Back Newborn Services Home Page
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Neonates feel pain as intensely as adults.  Oral Sucrose has been shown to be an effective and safe treatment for reducing the pain response of neonates.  A neonatal admission will typically involve between 2 and several hundred painful procedures.  The aim is to reduce the discomfort caused by these procedures.


Prior to any invasive procedure consideration should be made on how to minimize any resulting pain.  Painful procedures include but are not limited to venepuncture, peripheral venous line placement, heel prick, arterial stab, and peripheral arterial line placement.  Ways to reduce pain can be through the use of pharmacological and non-pharmacological measures.  Non pharmacological measures include ensuring, where possible, that the baby is calm, relaxed, warm, fed and that all necessary equipment for the procedure is at hand.  Once non-pharmacological measures have been implemented, oral sucrose analgesia may be used in babies in Level II NICU and the Parent Infant Nursery.  Oral sucrose will not always eliminate all crying, but is known to significantly reduce the physiological stress of pain.



Supporting Information



1 Stevens B, Yamada J, Ohlsson A.  Sucrose analgesia in newborn infants undergoing painful procedures. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Issue 2, 2002.
2 Haouari N, Wood C, Griffiths G, Levene M..  The analgesic effect of sucrose in full term infants: a randomized controlled trial. BMJ 1995; 310: 1498-1500.
3 Johnston CC, Filion F, Snider L,et al.  Routine sucrose analgesia during the first week of life in neonates younger than 31 weeksí postconceptional age. Pediatrics 2002;110:523-528.
4 Ietrak L, Burch K, Caravantes R, Knoerlein K, et al. Sucrose Analgesia: identifying potentially better practices. Pediatrics, Nov 2006: 118 s197-s202