Oral sucrose a good analgesic for infant immunizations

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Goodfellow Gems

Oral sucrose a good analgesic for infant immunizations

Oral sucrose is a mild analgesic which is safe and effective in decreasing short-term pain and distress during minor procedures.1 Small amounts of sweet solutions (oral sucrose) are placed on the infant's tongue to reduce procedural pain. The sweetness of breast milk has proven to be as effective as a pain-relieving strategy. Breast milk and breastfeeding (providing comfort, diversion, and maternal contact) should be used where available to relieve procedural pain.

The application of supportive measures such as kangaroo care, facilitated tucking, swaddling, warmth, non-nutritional sucking and distraction (in older infants), should occur before oral sucrose administration.1

Starship dosing: Neonates > 31 weeks post-conception to 1 month old; dose 0.2 to 0.5 ml. Infants 1-18 months; dose 0.5 to 1 ml (max 4 doses/24 hrs for both age bands).2  The Starship concentration is 66.7% sucrose solution (Syrup BP, 0.667g/L).


  1.  Sucrose (oral) for procedural pain management in infants. Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne Clinical Guidelines (2018) View here
  2. Sucrose Analgesia. Starship Child Health (2019)  View here

Gems are chosen by the Goodfellow director Dr. Bruce Arroll to be either practice changing or practice maintaining. The information is educational and not clinical advice.

As published in NZ Doctor 17/06/2020