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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 5 (2008), Issue 4, Pages 371-381
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nem084
Review

A Review of CAM for Procedural Pain in Infancy: Part I. Sucrose and Non-Nutritive Sucking

1Pediatric Pain Program, Department of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 10940 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1450, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA
2John C. Liebeskind History of Pain Collection, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, UCLA, USA

Received 9 February 2007; Accepted 24 April 2007

Copyright © 2008 Jennie C. I. Tsao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

There is increasing concern regarding the number of painful medical procedures that infants must undergo and the potential risks of alleviating infant pain with conventional pharmacologic agents. This article is Part I of a two-part series that aims to provide an overview of the literature on complementary and alternative (CAM) approaches for pain and distress related to medical procedures among infants up to six weeks of age. The focus of this article is a review of the empirical literature on sucrose with or without non-nutritive sucking (NNS) for procedural pain in infancy. Computerized databases were searched for relevant studies including prior reviews and primary trials. The most robust evidence was found for the analgesic effects of sucrose with or without NNS on minor procedural pain in healthy full-term infants. Despite some methodological weaknesses, the literature to date supports the use of sucrose, NNS and other sweetened solutions for the management of procedural pain in infancy.