Comparison of analgesics in ameliorating the pain of circumcision

J Perinatol. Jan-Feb 1998;18(1):13-9.


Objective: Our objective was to compare two methods of pain control during neonatal circumcision: a sucrose-dipped pacifier and an analgesic cream (EMLA).

Study design: This study was conducted in our well-baby nursery where 80 male infants were placed into one of four groups: control (water-dipped pacifier only), sucrose alone, EMLA alone, or sucrose and EMLA. Heart rate, oxygen saturation, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and crying time were measured as indicators of pain. The primary data analysis was a 2 x 2 factorial analysis of variance with repeated measures.

Results: Physiologic and behavioral parameters indicated significantly (p < 0.05) decreased pain response in all treatment groups compared with that in the control group. The combination of sucrose and EMLA was most effective in reducing pain responses; sucrose alone was significantly less effective. There were no side effects of treatment.

Conclusion: Pain during neonatal circumcision can be optimally ameliorated by combined use of a sucrose-dipped pacifier and a local analgesic cream.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anesthetics, Combined / therapeutic use
  • Anesthetics, Local / therapeutic use
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Circumcision, Male*
  • Crying / physiology
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infant Care
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lidocaine / therapeutic use
  • Lidocaine, Prilocaine Drug Combination
  • Male
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prilocaine / therapeutic use
  • Sucrose


  • Analgesics
  • Anesthetics, Combined
  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Lidocaine, Prilocaine Drug Combination
  • Prilocaine
  • Sucrose
  • Lidocaine
  • Oxygen