Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Early Hum Dev. 2000 Jul;59(1):51-60.

Artificial sweetener reduces nociceptive reaction in term newborn infants.

Author information

  • 1Clinic for Neonatology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.



Sucrose has been shown to have an analgesic effect in preterm and term neonates. Sucrose, however, has a high osmolarity and may have deleterious effects in infants with fructose intolerance. Furthermore, it may favour caries. We therefore investigated the effects of a commercially available artificial sweetener (10 parts cyclamate and 1 part saccharin), glycine (sweet amino acid) or breast milk in reducing reaction to pain as compared with a placebo.


Eighty healthy term infants, four days old, with normal birth weight.


The infants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: 2 ml sweetener, glycine, expressed breast milk or water were given 2 min before a heel prick for the Guthrie test. The procedure was filmed with a video camera and analysed by two observers who did not know which medication the infant had received.


Using a multivariate regression analysis, the following variables had significant correlation with relative crying time and recovery time: behavioural state before the intervention, the pricking nurse, and the type of medication. Relative crying time and recovery time were significantly less in the sweetener group but not in the glycine and the breast milk group.


The artificial sweetener used in our study reduces pain reaction to a heel prick in term neonates, and thus provides an alternative to sucrose. In contrast, glycine tends to increase pain reaction whereas breast milk has no effect.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center