Anesthetic Cream Combination Alleviates Vaccination Pain in Infants


Lidocaine combined with sugar helps relieve pain from routine vaccinations.

Combining lidocaine cream with a small amount of sugar can help alleviate infant pain during routine vaccinations, a new study published in theCanadian Medical Association Journalfound.

“Vaccinations cause acute distress for both infants and their parents, contributing to vaccination avoidance,” said Dr Anna Taddio, pharmacist and senior associate scientist, The Hospital for Sick Children. “However, there are gaps in knowledge about what is the best way to alleviate pain during vaccination.”

Investigators conducted a randomized, controlled study that included 352 healthy infants from 3 pediatric outpatient clinics —–including 7 physician practices–– who receivedscheduled vaccinationsin their first year of life, according to the study.

The infants were randomized to 1 of 4 groups: placebo control; video instruction to parents on how to soothe their baby; video plus oral sugar solution; and video, oral sugar solution, and lidocaine applied to the skin.

“We found that, when used consistently during vaccine injections in the first year of life, only liposomal lidocaine combined with parental video instruction and orally administered sucrose showed a benefit on acute pain when compared with placebo, video alone, and video and sucrose together,” the authors wrote. “The effects of consistent pain management on the development of preprocedural anxiety (fear), hypersensitivity to pain, and compliance with future vaccination warrant future investigation.”

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