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Oral glucose reduces pain for venipuncture in newborns

Clinical Question:
Does oral glucose reduce pain in newborns undergoing venipuncture?

Bottom Line:
Treatment with 2 mL oral glucose solution (30%) is effective in reducing pain due to venipuncture in newborn infants. (LOE = 1b)

Dilen B, Elseviers M. Oral glucose as pain relief in newborns: Results of a clinical trial. Birth 2010;37(2):98-105.  [PMID:20557532]

Study Design:
Randomized controlled trial (double-blinded)

Unknown/not stated


Inpatient (any location)

This randomized double-blind controlled trial included 250 newborns older than 32 weeks' gestational age at birth undergoing venipuncture as part of their care. The newborns were randomized to receive 2 mL glucose solution (10%, 20%, 30%, or 0%) 2 minutes prior to the procedure. Newborns with respiratory support or neurological abnormality were excluded. Newborns who received sedatives, analgesics, or naloxone in the previous 48 hours were also excluded. Pain was scored using the Leuven Pain Scale, which has a range of 0 to 14 with 7 variables each scored 0 to 2 (drowsiness, facial expression, crying, irritability, muscle tension, comfort, and heart rate). The threshold at which comfort is distinguished from discomfort is a score of at least 4. The mean pain score was significantly lower in the 30% glucose group (3.99) than in the placebo group (8.43; P < .001). The mean pain scores when the other glucose solutions were used were intermediate (5.92 for 10%; 5.26 for 20%).


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