Can sugar be an effective anesthetic for infants?

British Medical Journal

BMJ No 6993 Volume 310 Press releases
10 June 1995
Embargo 00.01 hrs 9 June 1995

Sugar: an effective pain killer for babies

[The analgesic effect of sucrose in full term infants: a randomized controlled trial]

Ordinary white sugar is an effective pain killer for young babies, according to a paper in this week's BMJ. The authors of the paper gave sugar in the form of 2 mls of 50 per cent sucrose syrup by mouth to 30 babies just before they had a routine blood test to detect jaundice.

Thirty babies got only plain water. After the test, which involves a painful prick in the foot, the babies in the group who had the sugar cried less and their heart rate returned to normal more quickly than the controls. The authors conclude that sugar syrup is a safe, effective pain-killer for young babies. Contact:

Prof. Malcolm Levene
University Division of Pediatrics & Child Health
D Floor
Clarendon Wing
Leeds General Infirmary
Leeds LS2 9NS