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BROWSE EVIDENCE REPOSITORY

 

Summaries of systematic reviews English (3) French All (3)

Cochrane Summary: Intranasal fentanyl for the treatment of children in acute pain

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Murphy A, O'Sullivan R, Wakai A, Grant TS, Barrett MJ, Cronin J, McCoy SC, Ho...

Background: Pain is the most common reason why patients are seen in emergency departments (EDs). The challenging nature of treating children in acute severe pain is reflected in the medical literature by poor pain management in this population. We reviewed evidence on the effect of intranasal fentanyl (INF) (a strong pain relief drug, similar to morphine) compared with any other pain-relieving technique for treatment of children in acute severe pain. Study characteristics: We included studies with children (younger than 18 years of age) suffering from acute severe pain as a result of injury or medical illness. The target intervention was INF administered for pain relief compared with any other drug intervention for pain relief (e.g. intravenous morphine) or non-drug intervention (e.g. limb splinting, wound dressing) provided in the emergency setting. The evidence is current to January 2014. Key results: We identified three studies that included 313 children with acute severe pain resulting from broken bones of the upper and lower limbs. These trials compared INF versus morphine administered by a needle into a muscle (intramuscular morphine) or via a drip into a vein (intravenous morphine), as well as standard concentration INF versus high concentration INF. The collective study population in these trials consisted of children three to 15 years of age. Males accounted for approximately two-thirds of the overall study population. The review concluded that INF may be an effective analgesic for the treatment of children in acute moderate to severe pain, and its administration appears to cause minimal distress to children; however, the evidence is insufficient to permit judgement of the effects of INF compared with intramuscular or intravenous morphine. No serious adverse events (e.g. opiate toxicity, death) were reported. Limitations: Limitations of this review include the following: Few studies (three) were eligible for inclusion; no study examined the use of INF in children younger than three years of age; no study included children with pain resulting from a "medical" cause (e.g. abdominal pain seen in appendicitis); and all eligible studies were conducted in Australia. Consequently, the findings may not be generalizable to other healthcare settings, to children younger than three years of age and to those with pain from a "medical" cause.

Cochrane Summary: Nerve blocks for initial pain management of thigh bone fractures in children

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Black KJ, Bevan CA, Murphy NG, Howard JJ

Fractures (breaks) of the thigh bone can be very painful, particularly when a child arrives in a stressful emergency environment and is undergoing assessment. Moving the child to get X-rays or transferring the child to a special bed to support the leg in traction (keeping the leg straight) can cause additional pain, as can placing traction (a pulling force) on the broken thigh. This means that prompt provision of pain relief is an essential part of initial emergency management. This review investigated whether a nerve block, involving the injection of a freezing/numbing medication at the top of the thigh, would provide more effective pain relief than pain medicine given by mouth or into a vein (intravenously, e.g. morphine). We searched several medical databases and trial registries up to January 2013 and contacted researchers. We found one study that looked at the comparison we were interested in. This study was potentially biased, mainly because the care providers, parents and children were aware of the type of pain relief the children received. The study was small, involving 55 children aged 16 months to 15 years, and showed that the children who received one of the two main types of nerve block tended to have less pain after 30 minutes than those who received intravenous morphine for initial pain control. The nerve blocks led to some pain and redness at the injection site in a few cases, while intravenous morphine caused more serious problems such as depressed breathing (lack of oxygen), excessive sleepiness and vomiting in a small number of children. Moreover, children who had nerve blocks continued to have lower pain scores over a six-hour period with less need for additional pain relief. There was insufficient evidence to determine whether children or parents were more satisfied with one method of pain relief than the other. Use of resources (e.g. nursing time, cost of medications) was not measured. The quality of the study included in this review was low and so these conclusions are not certain. Further well designed studies investigating whether nerve blocks are more effective and safer than other means of pain relief are needed.

Cochrane Summary: Topical analgesia for acute otitis media

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Foxlee R, Johansson A, Wejfalk J, Dawkins J, Dooley L, Del Mar C

Antibiotics make little difference to children with an uncomplicated ear infection and ear pain. Some advocate ear drops with local anaesthetic such as amethocaine, benzocaine or lidocaine. Five trials (391 participants) were identified; two compared anaesthetic drops to placebo (inactive) drops; and three compared anaesthetic drops to herbal ear drops. There was no strong evidence that herbal ear drops were effective, but anaesthetic drops did provide better pain relief than the inactive drops. Only one trial looked at adverse reactions and reported no cases of ringing in the ears or unsteadiness when walking and three cases of very mild dizziness. Children in all the trials experienced a rapid, short-term reduction in pain after using ear drops. It is hard to know if this was the result of the natural course of the illness; the placebo effect of receiving treatment; the soothing effect of any liquid in the ear or the pharmacological effects of the ear drops themselves. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that when combined with oral pain medication, anaesthetic ear drops may help to relieve pain more rapidly in children aged three to 18 years. More good-quality trials are needed.

Cochrane Summary: Intranasal fentanyl for the treatment of children in acute pain

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Murphy A, O'Sullivan R, Wakai A, Grant TS, Barrett MJ, Cronin J, McCoy SC, Ho...

Background: Pain is the most common reason why patients are seen in emergency departments (EDs). The challenging nature of treating children in acute severe pain is reflected in the medical literature by poor pain management in this population. We reviewed evidence on the effect of intranasal fentanyl (INF) (a strong pain relief drug, similar to morphine) compared with any other pain-relieving technique for treatment of children in acute severe pain. Study characteristics: We included studies with children (younger than 18 years of age) suffering from acute severe pain as a result of injury or medical illness. The target intervention was INF administered for pain relief compared with any other drug intervention for pain relief (e.g. intravenous morphine) or non-drug intervention (e.g. limb splinting, wound dressing) provided in the emergency setting. The evidence is current to January 2014. Key results: We identified three studies that included 313 children with acute severe pain resulting from broken bones of the upper and lower limbs. These trials compared INF versus morphine administered by a needle into a muscle (intramuscular morphine) or via a drip into a vein (intravenous morphine), as well as standard concentration INF versus high concentration INF. The collective study population in these trials consisted of children three to 15 years of age. Males accounted for approximately two-thirds of the overall study population. The review concluded that INF may be an effective analgesic for the treatment of children in acute moderate to severe pain, and its administration appears to cause minimal distress to children; however, the evidence is insufficient to permit judgement of the effects of INF compared with intramuscular or intravenous morphine. No serious adverse events (e.g. opiate toxicity, death) were reported. Limitations: Limitations of this review include the following: Few studies (three) were eligible for inclusion; no study examined the use of INF in children younger than three years of age; no study included children with pain resulting from a "medical" cause (e.g. abdominal pain seen in appendicitis); and all eligible studies were conducted in Australia. Consequently, the findings may not be generalizable to other healthcare settings, to children younger than three years of age and to those with pain from a "medical" cause.

Cochrane Summary: Nerve blocks for initial pain management of thigh bone fractures in children

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Black KJ, Bevan CA, Murphy NG, Howard JJ

Fractures (breaks) of the thigh bone can be very painful, particularly when a child arrives in a stressful emergency environment and is undergoing assessment. Moving the child to get X-rays or transferring the child to a special bed to support the leg in traction (keeping the leg straight) can cause additional pain, as can placing traction (a pulling force) on the broken thigh. This means that prompt provision of pain relief is an essential part of initial emergency management. This review investigated whether a nerve block, involving the injection of a freezing/numbing medication at the top of the thigh, would provide more effective pain relief than pain medicine given by mouth or into a vein (intravenously, e.g. morphine). We searched several medical databases and trial registries up to January 2013 and contacted researchers. We found one study that looked at the comparison we were interested in. This study was potentially biased, mainly because the care providers, parents and children were aware of the type of pain relief the children received. The study was small, involving 55 children aged 16 months to 15 years, and showed that the children who received one of the two main types of nerve block tended to have less pain after 30 minutes than those who received intravenous morphine for initial pain control. The nerve blocks led to some pain and redness at the injection site in a few cases, while intravenous morphine caused more serious problems such as depressed breathing (lack of oxygen), excessive sleepiness and vomiting in a small number of children. Moreover, children who had nerve blocks continued to have lower pain scores over a six-hour period with less need for additional pain relief. There was insufficient evidence to determine whether children or parents were more satisfied with one method of pain relief than the other. Use of resources (e.g. nursing time, cost of medications) was not measured. The quality of the study included in this review was low and so these conclusions are not certain. Further well designed studies investigating whether nerve blocks are more effective and safer than other means of pain relief are needed.

Cochrane Summary: Topical analgesia for acute otitis media

Visit

Foxlee R, Johansson A, Wejfalk J, Dawkins J, Dooley L, Del Mar C

Antibiotics make little difference to children with an uncomplicated ear infection and ear pain. Some advocate ear drops with local anaesthetic such as amethocaine, benzocaine or lidocaine. Five trials (391 participants) were identified; two compared anaesthetic drops to placebo (inactive) drops; and three compared anaesthetic drops to herbal ear drops. There was no strong evidence that herbal ear drops were effective, but anaesthetic drops did provide better pain relief than the inactive drops. Only one trial looked at adverse reactions and reported no cases of ringing in the ears or unsteadiness when walking and three cases of very mild dizziness. Children in all the trials experienced a rapid, short-term reduction in pain after using ear drops. It is hard to know if this was the result of the natural course of the illness; the placebo effect of receiving treatment; the soothing effect of any liquid in the ear or the pharmacological effects of the ear drops themselves. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that when combined with oral pain medication, anaesthetic ear drops may help to relieve pain more rapidly in children aged three to 18 years. More good-quality trials are needed.