"Healthcare professionals should
consider using sucrose or glucose before and during immunization." Dr. Denise
The trauma and pain associated with vaccinations or minor painful
procedures in infants from one month to twelve
months can now be relieved simply by feeding them with sugar
This finding has been reported by Denise Harrison, RN,
PhD, of the Department of Pediatrics of the "Hospital for Sick Children" in Toronto, Canada and her colleagues as
published in the "Archives of Disease
The application of pain relieving
effects of sucrose and glucose
in newborns has been in vogue for a
while but little was known about the analgesic effects
in children beyond the newborn period. This study focused on the effectiveness
of sugar solutions in infancy from newborns till about 12 months of age with
single or multiple vaccinations.
According to the report,
randomized controlled 695studies
from the internet and other resources were researched and the results were
pooled together evidently to establish this finding. An analytical review of 14
randomized controlled trials which included 1,674 total injections given was
done. Oral glucose or sucrose solutions
in varying consistencies were matched with water or no treatment. There was a
moderate decrease in the incidence and duration of crying in 13 of the 14
randomized controlled trails.
According to Dr. Denise
"Healthcare professionals should consider using sucrose or glucose before and
during immunization." She also recommends other strategies to reduce physical
or psychological pain along with sucrose or glucose solutions such as
non-nutritive sucking, distracting the child or breast-feeding.
Accordingly, the analgesic effect
appears to progressively reduce as the infant's age increases with the maximum
pain relieving effect of sugar solutions in newborns. The concentrations of
sugar solutions ranged from 75% to 12%. Better pain relief was observed with
more concentrated 50% sucrose solution than with 25% sucrose and lesser
concentrations. A 12% concentrated sugar solution was able to achieve variable
pain relief or relatively no pain relief.
rate and salivary cortisol levels of infants were assessed in this
cortisol test is used to study physiological stress-related disorders
with cortisol levels usually increasing after any physical and emotional stress
and illness. Infants who received sugar solutions together with non-nutritive
sucking were reported to have over 30% reduction in salivary cortisol levels
from that of the baseline, while infants who received water with or without a
pacifier together with oral glucose alone had an increase in salivary cortisol
levels following injections.
To conclude there is an evident
pain relief in infants from birth till about 12 months from minor medical
procedures and vaccinations by taking sugar solutions with the maximum
analgesic effect in newborn infants compared to older children. Therefore, the
use of glucose or sucrose can definitely be counted on for making the pain
related with injections more tolerable in babies.
Source: Efficacy of sweet solutions
for analgesia in infants between 1 and 12 months of age: a systematic review;
Denise Harrison et al; Archives of Disease in Childhood.