OBJECTIVE: The goal was to compare the efficacy of oral 25% dextrose treatment and/or skin-to-skin contact for analgesia in term newborns during intramuscular injection of a hepatitis B vaccine.
METHODS: A prospective, randomized, partially blinded, clinical trial was performed with 640 healthy term newborns. Infants at 12 to 72 hours of life were assigned randomly to receive an intramuscular injection of hepatitis B vaccine in the right thigh according to 4 analgesia groups, that is, no analgesia (routine); oral 25% dextrose treatment, given 2 minutes before the injection; skin-to-skin contact, initiated 2 minutes before the injection and persisting throughout the procedure; and a combination of the oral dextrose treatment and skin-to-skin contact strategies. For all groups, Neonatal Facial Coding System and Neonatal Infant Pain Scale scores were evaluated before the procedure, during thigh cleansing, during the injection, and 2 minutes after the injection. Premature Infant Pain Profile scores also were assessed for all infants. Pain scores were compared among the 4 groups.
RESULTS: The use of oral 25% dextrose treatment reduced the duration of procedural pain in the studied population. Skin-to-skin contact decreased injection pain and duration. The combination of the 2 analgesic measures was more effective than either measure separately for term newborns.
CONCLUSIONS: Nonpharmacologic analgesic measures were effective for the treatment of procedural pain in term infants. The combination of oral 25% dextrose treatment and skin-to-skin contact acted synergistically to decrease acute pain in healthy neonates.