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Pain induced by minor office procedures are associated with infant and family’s distress with possible long term psychological effects. Despite this known fact, it is not adequately treated in common practice. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends pre-procedural oral sucrose to alleviate pain during the procedures. The purpose of this study was to review published literature for the efficacy and safety of oral sucrose as a pre-procedural intervention in infants for mild to moderate procedural pain.

A PUBMED, MEDLINE and COCHRANE database search was performed using the terms analgesia, infant, neonatal, newborn, nociception, pain, sucrose and randomized controlled study. Thirteen studies were selected for review after the exclusion criteria. The studies were reviewed for the outcome measures reported including, 1) efficacy of a single oral dose of sucrose as determined by pain scores, behavioral and physiological indicators and, 2) adverse events reported and safety. Furthermore, some other interventions outcomes were also reviewed including the dose, concentration of solution, timing and method of delivery of oral sucrose.

Oral sucrose is effective in reducing crying time and decreasing behavioral pain responses when given in a single dose 30 seconds to 2 minutes before the procedure in 10 out of 13 studies. No clinical significant adverse event was reported in 12 out of 13 studies. In conclusion, oral sucrose is an effective, safe, and immediate acting analgesic which reduces crying time and behavioral pain responses after minor painful procedures in infants. This literature review of high quality studies supports the AAP recommendation of using pre-procedural oral sucrose for pain control in infants during office procedures.


Physician Assistant Studies

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

First Advisor

Susan Kuntz

Publication Date



Analgesia -- methods; Infant; Pain -- prevention & control; Sucrose -- therapeutic use


Pain Management

Oral Sucrose is an Effective and Safe Analgesic for Painful Minor Procedures in Infants during Primary Health Care Visit