A cohort study of intranasal fentanyl for procedural pain management in neonates

Paediatr Child Health. 2018 Dec;23(8):e170-e175. doi: 10.1093/pch/pxy060. Epub 2018 May 24.


Objectives: The objective of this cohort study was to document experience with intranasal (IN) fentanyl analgesia for procedural pain management in neonates in a surgical neonatal intensive care unit. A consecutive sample of 23 neonates without intravenous access treated with IN fentanyl was included.

Methods: Data were extracted from medical charts, including infant characteristics, indication for IN fentanyl, dose, physiologic parameters (heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, blood pressure) and pain scores. Physiologic parameters were recorded for 6 hours before and after IN fentanyl. Pain scores were recorded during and after the procedure using the Premature Infant Pain Profile (PIPP).

Results: The mean (SD) postmenstrual age of included infants was 31.8 weeks (4.1), and 52% were receiving some form of ventilator support. The mean dose of IN fentanyl was 1.3 mcg/kg (0.4) and most common indication was analgesia for peripheral insertion of central catheter. There were six cases of cardiorespiratory depression as defined, however, clinical factors could account for all of them. The mean PIPP score during and after the procedure was 4.3 (1.8) and 3.6 (1.5), respectively (scores <6 indicate no pain).

Conclusions: This small study provides some preliminary evidence of the benefits and risks of IN fentanyl in this population.

Keywords: Fentanyl; Intranasal administration; NICU; Neonate; Pain management.