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Paediatr Drugs. 2001;3(5):337-54.

Pharmacological management of pain and anxiety during emergency procedures in children.

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Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis Children's Hospital, Missouri, USA.


Painful procedures are frequently required during treatment of children in the emergency department and are very stressful for the children, their parents and healthcare providers. Pharmacological methods to safely provide almost painless local anaesthesia, analgesia and anxiolysis have been increasingly studied in children. With knowledge of these methods, and patience, the emergency care provider can greatly reduce the distress often associated with emergency care of children. Topical local anaesthetics such as LET [lidocaine (lignocaine), epinephrine (adrenaline), tetracaine] or buffered lidocaine injected through the wound with fine needles can almost painlessly anaesthetise lacerations for suturing. Topical creams such as lidocaine/ prilocaine (EMLA) or tetracaine, iontophoresed lidocaine, or buffered lidocaine subcutaneously injected with fine needles can make intravenous catheter placement virtually 'painless'. When anxiety is significant, and mild to moderate analgesia/ anxiolysis/amnesia is needed, nitrous oxide can be administered if the proper delivery devices are available. Alternatively, when intensely painful fracture reduction, burn debridement, or abscess drainage is necessary, well tolerated and effective deep sedation can be achieved with careful use of midazolam and either ketamine or fentanyl.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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