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Morphine and topical anaesthesia effective in treating procedural pain in newborn infants

e care units at SickKids and Mount Sinai Hospital, both located in Toronto, Canada, between June 2000 and July 2005.

The amount of pain was determined by measuring the proportion of time the newborns displayed facial grimacing (brow bulge) during different phases of the central line insertion (skin preparation, needle puncture and recovery).

"We found that morphine, or a combination of morphine and tetracaine, to be the most effective in treating the infants' pain during central line placement. Topical anaesthesia (tetracaine) alone was found to be a weak analgesic. This data can be used to support evidence-based protocols for the management of pain during central line placements in infants," said Dr. Taddio. "We believe morphine was more effective because it reduced the sensory input derived from the multiple phases of the procedure, while tetracaine decreased sensation from the needle puncture site alone."

Both medications were associated with side effects: morphine caused mild respiratory depression and tetracaine caused erythema (abnormal redness of skin).


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Contact: Laura Greer, Public Affairs
laura.greer@sickkids.ca
416-813-5046
University of Toronto
14-Feb-2006


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