A substance commercially described as 'sugar free,' used as a sweetener for paracetamol suspension, was evaluated on measures of neonatal pain. Sixty infants were randomly allocated to receive one of four solutions before heel stab blood sampling: sterile water (placebo); 25 or 50% sucrose (weight/volume); and the commercial sweet-tasting solution. There was a significant reduction in crying time and pain score 3 minutes after the painful stimulus in all groups compared with the controls. It is concluded that this sweet-tasting solution has analgesic effects as potent as those of concentrated sucrose solutions.
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