TORONTO, March 2 /CNW/ - Something as simple as a diaper change after a
blood test can be painful for infants. But according to a new study, an
ingredient found in your kitchen cupboard - ordinary sugar - could be the
Researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), the University
of Toronto, Mount Sinai Hospital and York University have found that sucrose
analgesia, or table sugar, reduces a baby's pain response to routine care
following a painful procedure. The study will be published in the March 2
issue of Pediatrics.
The study involved 240 infants. Before having blood drawn, half of the
babies were treated with sucrose and half were given a placebo. Pain responses
were measured during diaper changes performed after the blood tests. The study
found that the sucrose-treated infants had lower pain scores than the
"This research shows us that the benefits of sucrose analgesia extend
beyond the painful event to other potentially uncomfortable procedures," says
lead author Dr. Anna Taddio, an Adjunct Scientist and Pharmacist at SickKids
and an Associate Professor of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto. This is
the first study to determine the effects of sucrose on routine care activities
performed after painful procedures, she says.
The research team's previous study, published in the Canadian Medical
Association Journal last summer, revealed that sucrose is an effective
painkiller in newborns undergoing painful medical procedures.
Sucrose has been considered beneficial for procedures lasting up to 10
minutes, however its effect on subsequent procedures was not determined. As
this study showed that the benefits extend to procedures following the
10-minute mark, infants can continue to benefit from the sucrose without the
need for additional doses.
While the underlying mechanism responsible for the sustained benefit of
sucrose is not known, the study has important clinical implications. "Based on
the results of the study, sucrose may be recommended for caregiving procedures
that follow painful events," says Dr. Taddio.
Additional studies are needed to determine the underlying mechanisms
responsible for the pain-relieving and calming actions of sucrose. The
effectiveness of treating newborns with sucrose in other situations must also
The study was supported by Canadian Institutes of Health Research and
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), affiliated with the University
of Toronto, is Canada's most research-intensive hospital and the largest
centre dedicated to improving children's health in the country. As innovators
in child health, SickKids improves the health of children by integrating care,
research and teaching. Our mission is to provide the best in complex and
specialized care by creating scientific and clinical advancements, sharing our
knowledge and expertise and championing the development of an accessible,
comprehensive and sustainable child health system. For more information,
please visit www.sickkids.ca. SickKids is committed to healthier children for
a better world.
For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Matet Nebres, The Hospital for Sick Children, (416) 813-6380,
email@example.com; Suzanne Gold, The Hospital for Sick Children, (416)
813-7654, ext. 2059, firstname.lastname@example.org