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Oral sucrose analgesia for preterm infant venepuncture
  1. A B Acharya1,
  2. S Annamali1,
  3. N A Taub2,
  4. D Field3
  1. 1Department of Neonatal Medicine, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, UK
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Leicester
  3. 3Department of Child Health, University of Leicester
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Acharya
    Warwick Hospital, Lakin Road, Warwick CV34 6FA, UK;

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Clear benefit of sucrose analgesia for preterm neonates during venepuncture is shown

Although studies of oral sucrose solution for procedure related pain in neonates have been subjected to a meta-analysis and a systematic review, several problems have been noted, and only one small trial focused on the role of oral sucrose for preterm venepuncture.1–3

We therefore performed a randomised, double blinded, placebo controlled, crossover trial of 25% sucrose solution in healthy preterm infants to assess its efficacy in reducing pain responses during routine venepuncture.


All well infants, below gestational age 37 weeks, admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary, who needed routine blood sampling on at least two occasions were eligible for the study.

Exclusion criteria included unwell infants, need for oxygen or ventilation in the last seven days, intravenous feeding, five minute Apgar scores of 6 or less, neuromuscular dysfunction, grade 2 or more intraventricular haemorrhage, dysmorphic features, maternal opiate abuse, and need for analgesia or sedation within 48 hours of venepuncture.

Written informed consent was obtained from a parent. The local hospital ethics committee approved the study.

Infants received either 25% sucrose solution (S25) or water orally before two routine venepunctures. A hospital pharmacist used a table of random numbers to determine …

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