Does the standard intravenous solution of fentanyl (50 microg/mL) administered intranasally have analgesic efficacy?

Emerg Med Australas. 2010 Feb;22(1):62-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-6723.2010.01257.x.


Background: Intranasal (IN) fentanyl provides rapid and powerful non-parenteral analgesia in the ED. A concentrated solution of fentanyl (300 microg/mL) has been used in prior trials, yet many ED use the standard solution at a concentration of 50 microg/mL, which is widely available and of low cost. We set out to determine if this lower concentration of fentanyl is also efficacious.

Methods: Prospective audit in children aged 5-18 years presenting with upper limb injuries. Patients received IN fentanyl (50 microg/mL) at 1.5 microg/kg. Patient assessed pain scores were collected 5, 10, 20, 30 and 60 min following IN fentanyl administration using a visual analogue scale or Bieri Faces-Revised scale. Parental scores were used if patients were unable to provide a score.

Results: Of the 59 eligible patients, 36 were enrolled; median age was 6.8 years (range 5-15 years), and 89% (32/36) ultimately required fracture reduction. Median first dose of IN fentanyl was 1.4 microg/kg. Median pain scores dropped from 7 (interquartile range 5-10) pre-fentanyl to 5 (interquartile range 4-8) at 5 min and 2 (interquartile range 1-4) at 30 and 60 min. A total of 21 (58%) children did not require further analgesia in the ED. There were no adverse events.

Conclusions: Standard i.v. concentration IN fentanyl (50 microg/mL) appears to have analgesic efficacy in children with upper limb injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Adolescent
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage*
  • Arm Injuries / complications
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Fentanyl / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Observation
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prospective Studies


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Fentanyl