The Society for Pediatric Anesthesia recommendations for the use of opioids in children during the perioperative period

Paediatr Anaesth. 2019 Jun;29(6):547-571. doi: 10.1111/pan.13639. Epub 2019 Jun 11.


Opioids have long held a prominent role in the management of perioperative pain in adults and children. Published reports concerning the appropriate, and inappropriate, use of these medications in pediatric patients have appeared in various publications over the last 50 years. For this document, the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia appointed a taskforce to evaluate the available literature and formulate recommendations with respect to the most salient aspects of perioperative opioid administration in children. The recommendations are graded based on the strength of the available evidence, with consensus of the experts applied for those issues where evidence is not available. The goal of the recommendations was to address the most important issues concerning opioid administration to children after surgery, including appropriate assessment of pain, monitoring of patients on opioid therapy, opioid dosing considerations, side effects of opioid treatment, strategies for opioid delivery, and assessment of analgesic efficacy. Regular updates are planned with a re-release of guidelines every 2 years.

Keywords: monitoring; opioids; patient-controlled analgesia; recommendations; side effects.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy*
  • Perioperative Period / standards*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic* / standards


  • Analgesics, Opioid