Oral fructose solution as an analgesic in the newborn: a randomized, placebo-controlled and masked study

Pediatr Int. 2004 Aug;46(4):459-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-200x.2004.01932.x.


Background: Pain in the newborn child can be associated with various risks. For this reason, as well as for ethical reasons, it seems essential to find a simple and acceptable method for reducing pain. Pharmacological agents are not recommended because of their side-effects. Glucose and sucrose solutions were administered, and were found effective for pain relief in minor procedures in previous studies. Fructose solution has not been tried in human neonates before now. For this study, fructose solution for pain relief was tried during heel lancing in term neonates, and to compare its effect with glucose and placebo, using a validated behavioral acute pain rating scale.

Methods: In total, 34 healthy full-term neonates were studied. Randomized, masked, placebo-controlled and crossover trial were used. Each infant was assessed three times, receiving 0.5 mL of 30% fructose, 0.5 mL of 30% glucose or 0.5 mL of sterile water orally by syringe in random order, 2 min before heel lancing.

Results: Pain scores were significantly lower in 30% fructose and 30% glucose groups as compared with the placebo group. No statistically significant difference in pain scores was found between 30% fructose and 30% glucose groups.

Conclusion: A small dose of 0.5 mL of 30% fructose solution has an equal analgesic effect with 0.5 mL of 30% glucose solution.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage*
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fructose / administration & dosage*
  • Fructose / therapeutic use
  • Glucose / administration & dosage
  • Glucose / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Placebos
  • Sweetening Agents / administration & dosage
  • Sweetening Agents / therapeutic use


  • Analgesics
  • Placebos
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Fructose
  • Glucose