Oral dextrose v/s breast milk for the pain relief of newborn infants

Author(s): Tharun C Varghese, Anna Susan Paul, Santhosh Soans

Aim: Pain management in newborn infants especially for mild to moderate pain is underused. The use of sucrose and glucose are found to be effective. This study is to find the effect of oral dextrose solution on pain relief in term neonates.

Methodology: In a randomized controlled clinical trial, 124 term neonates were enrolled in the study. They were randomized to receive oral dextrose (25%) or breast milk two minutes before venipunctures. Pain reactions were scored with the NIPS pain scoring system, heart rate, and oxygen saturation after venipunctures was recorded.

Results: There were significantly lower pain score in dextrose group after venipunctures (NIPS pain score: 4.67+1.04 and 6.62+0.82 at 1st minute, 2.04 ± 1.45 and 4.08 ± 1.05 at 2nd minutes and 1.63+0.76 and 3.02+1.08 at 3rd minute respectively) The mean heart rate of the group I (166.57± 12.25/min) was high compared to the group II (144.8 ± 12.44/min). There was desaturation noted in both the groups.

Conclusion: Using 2 ml of 25% oral dextrose solution is a useful, easy, non-expensive, and non-pharmacologic method for managing mild to moderate pain in neonates.