Consequences of inadequate analgesia during painful procedures in children

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998 Feb;152(2):147-9. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.152.2.147.


Objective: To explore the effect of inadequate analgesia for painful procedures (bone marrow aspiration, lumbar puncture, or both) on the pain of subsequent procedures.

Design: A cohort of patients with cancer who had participated in a placebo-controlled, randomized study that documented the efficacy of oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate for painful procedures rated the pain associated with subsequent procedures performed with open-label oral transmucosal fentanyl.

Participants: Twenty-one children undergoing diagnostic procedures who had been participants in previous study.

Intervention: All children were given oral transmucosal fentanyl, 15 to 20 microgram/kg, prior to the procedure; at its conclusion they were asked to rate the associated pain.

Results: In children younger than 8 years (n = 13), mean pain ratings during each subsequent procedure were consistently higher for those who had received placebo (n = 8) in the original study compared with those who had received the active drug (n = 5). A repeated-measures analysis of variance suggests that this difference is statistically significant (P = .04). Older children (n = 8) did not show this pattern.

Conclusion: Inadequate analgesia for initial procedures in young children may diminish the effect of adequate analgesia in subsequent procedures.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Bone Marrow Examination / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Fentanyl / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Mouth Mucosa
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Spinal Puncture / adverse effects


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Fentanyl