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Clin Exp Pediatr. 2020 Jan;63(1):25-29. doi: 10.3345/kjp.2017.05841. Epub 2019 Aug 16.

Effectiveness of various nonpharmacological analgesic methods in newborns.

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Department of Pediatrics, Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, India.
Department of Community Medicine, PT. B. D. Sharma PGIMS, Rohtak, India.



Pain during the developmental period may adversely affect developing neuronal pathways and result in adverse neurodevelopmental, cognitive, and behavioral effects in later life. Immunizations, e.g., hepatitis B vaccine (HBV), administered at birth are painful experiences to which neonates are universally subjected.


Here we aimed to study and compare the effectiveness of various nonpharmacological pain management methods in newborns to enable the development of safe and effective analgesic methods for newborns.


This prospective study was conducted at a tertiary care hospital in the Himalayan region. Three hundred term healthy neonates were divided into 6 groups of 50 each. Groups 1-5 were intervention groups, patients of which received a nonpharmacological intervention (breastfeeding, nonnutritive sucking, rocking, 25% sucrose, or distilled water) before the intramuscular HBV, while patients in group 6 received no intervention. The pain response in each group after the HBV injection was assessed and compared using cry duration and Douleur Aigue Nveau-ne (DAN) score, a behavioral acute pain rating scale for newborns.


Cry duration was decreased in all intervention groups, significantly so in the sucrose (19.90 seconds), breastfeeding (31.57 seconds), and nonnutritive sucking (36.93 seconds) groups compared with controls (52.86 seconds). DAN scores decreased significantly (P<0.05) at one or more points i.e. 30, 60, or 120 seconds in the breastfeeding and 25% sucrose intervention groups compared with controls.


Oral sucrose and nonnutritive sucking are simple yet underutilized nonpharmacological interventions that effectively reduce pain in newborns.


Analgesia; Hepatitis B vaccines; Newborn infant; Nonpharmacological methods

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