Intranasal Fentanyl Use in Neonates

Hosp Pharm. 2020 Apr;55(2):126-129. doi: 10.1177/0018578719828335. Epub 2019 Feb 4.


Background: The recent addition of intranasal medication options for procedural sedation and analgesia has decreased the need for additional painful procedures such as intravenous lines for medication administration. Intranasal fentanyl (INF) has been used in the prehospital setting, as well as in the emergency department for several years, and is increasingly utilized in other locations such as the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). A paucity of data exists in these smallest children, so we sought to explore trends in INF use in our NICU. Objective: The objective of the study was to describe INF use in the NICU from December 2014 to December 2017. Design/Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted of patients receiving INF in the NICU of a large free-standing quaternary inner-city children's hospital from December 2014 to 2017. Demographic data were abstracted from the medical record including gestational age on administration, post-menstrual age, day of life on administration, sex, medication initial and total dose, reported indication, and documented adverse events. This study was approved by our local institutional review board. Results: A total of 54 patients received a total of 67 INF administrations: 32 women (59%), median day of life on administration = 57.1 (interquartile range [IQR] = 33.7-110.4), median weeks gestation = 26.0 (IQR = 24.1-36.1), post-menstrual age = 38.1 weeks (IQR = 33.1-45.4). Initial doses of medications were 1.49 µg/kg/dose INF (range = 0.5-2 µg/kg). Conclusions: Intranasal adjuncts are increasingly used in the NICU. Starting dose of INF is 1.5 µg/kg/dose, and typically, one dose is given.

Keywords: adverse drug reactions reporting/monitoring; analgesics; clinical pathways; clinical services; drug/medical use evaluation; pain management; pediatrics.