European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 166, Issue 10, pp 1017–1024 | Cite as

Analgesia in preterm newborns: the comparative effects of sucrose and glucose

  • Fusun Okan
  • Asuman Coban
  • Zeynep Ince
  • Zuhal Yapici
  • Gulay Can
Original Paper


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of different oral carbohydrate solutions for alleviation of pain in healthy preterm babies. Thirty-one preterm infants who were having blood drawn by heel prick were given 2 ml of solution A (20% sucrose), solution B (20% glucose) or solution C (placebo, sterile water) into the mouth, 2 min before lancing. Behavioural responses to this painful stimulus were measured by duration of crying and facial expressions (Neonatal Facial Coding System, NFCS) and physiological responses were measured by heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR), and oxygen saturation changes (SaO2). Infants had a mean birth weight (±SD) of 1,401 g (406), gestational age of 30.5 weeks (2.7); at the time of the procedure the postmenstrual age was 32.3 weeks (1.5). There was no significant difference in the time spent squeezing the heel between the three groups (P = 0.669). After the heel prick of both the sucrose and glucose groups the duration of first cry and total crying time was significantly reduced (P = 0.005 and P = 0.007). When the babies received placebo they showed a significantly higher NFCS score at 4 and 5 min after the heel prick (P = 0.009 and 0.046 respectively). Following painful stimulus HR increased significantly in the first 3 min compared with baseline, and at the first minute the mean of the HR was found to be significantly higher in the placebo group than in the sucrose and glucose groups (P = 0.007). We concluded that both sucrose and glucose administered orally before a heel prick reduce the pain response in preterm infants.


Preterm Pain Sucrose Glucose 



heart rate


Neonatal Facial Coding System


Neonatal Intensive Care Unit


respiratory rate


oxygen saturation


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fusun Okan
    • 1
    • 4
  • Asuman Coban
    • 2
  • Zeynep Ince
    • 2
  • Zuhal Yapici
    • 3
  • Gulay Can
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Neonatology, Department of PediatricsSisli Children HospitalIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of MedicineIstanbul UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  3. 3.Division of Child Neurology, Department of Neurology, Faculty of MedicineIstanbul UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  4. 4.IstanbulTurkey

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