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Feature Article

Interventions for acute and procedural pain in children: improving management now and in the future

Greta M Palmer

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Abstract

A range of pharmacological and nonpharmacological options are available for pain relief in children. Use of appropriate interventions can have a positive impact on a child’s future pain experience.

Key Points

  • There is increasing evidence that early intervention and optimisation of acute pain management in children impacts on future pain experiences.
  • Parents and medical staff recognise the severity of a child’s acute pain experience, but this does not always result in the use of best evidence-supported interventions.
  • Simple and opioid analgesics (available in various oral tablet and liquid formulations) are effective to treat multiple acute pain states in children. Both over the counter and prescribed formulations are generally safe, but toxicity risk is an ongoing consideration.
  • Clear individually tailored information must be provided to medical staff and parents to ensure children receive effective analgesic agents in appropriate doses and frequency. Adverse event profiles should also be advised.
  • Nonpharmacological strategies, such as distraction, hypnosis, relaxation, non-nutritive sucking, sweet-tasting solutions and physical interventions (e.g. cold or positioning), are effective in children and their use should be promoted.

    Picture credit: © Ilike/Stock.adobe.com. Model used for illustrative purposes only.

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