newborn babySucrose is used in a medical setting as an alternative means of pain relief or prevention infants. Researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto recently reviewed various clinical databases for studies on sucrose use to determine a minimally effective dose and supportive literature proving pain relief. The review was published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Review.

Researchers were able to locate 57 studies involving more than 4,700 infants. Data from qualifying studies were pooled - only a small number of the studies qualified. After pooling of data, researchers found no information on the minimally effective dose of sucrose for pain relief, but they did find support that sucrose relieves pain when used in single-event procedures. Infants undergoing retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) examinations and heel lance did not respond to sucrose pain relief. Researchers noted a reduction in oxygen saturation when sucrose was used in ROP examinations.

Sucrose may be an effective means of pain relief for some single-event procedures, but additional research is needed to establish a minimally effective dose.

Source: Stevens B, Yamada J, Lee GY, Ohlsson A. Sucrose for analgesia in newborn infants undergoing painful procedures. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jan 31;1:CD001069. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001069.pub4.