Sucrose analgesia in neonates


  • Strong sweet solutions like glucose reduce the physiological and behavioural indicators of pain following painful procedures in neonates
  • Glucose is an inexpensive and easy method that is well accepted by the babies
  • It can be used for pain relief during minor procedures, like blood sampling, heel lance, venipuncture and immunisation


  • Infants prior to heel-prick, venipuncture, blood sampling, LP or other invasive procedures
  • Age less than 28 days


Baby >.5kg wt

  • 0.2-0.25ml of 24% Sucrose (Sweetease) dropped on the anterior tongue in divided doses 2 minutes before procedure
  • Continue during procedure for a total dose of 2mls (action lasts approximately five minutes)

Baby <1500g wt

  • 0.1-0.2ml administered as above
  • Maximum dose: 0.5ml (Max of 4 doses in 24 hours)


  • Ventilated and/or paralysed babies
  • Babies with NEC
  • Neonates with known fructose intolerance
  • Glucose-galactose malabsorption
  • Sucrase-isomaltase deficiency
  • Oesophageal Atresia or tracheal oesophageal fistula
  • Altered gag/swallow reflexes
  • Pre-op sedated patients due to risk of aspiration
  • Neonates < 31 weeks post-conceptional age
  • Maximum age of 52 weeks corrected conceptional age
  • Parental refusal

Side effects

  • No side effects have been reported

Content by Dr Ian Higginson 31/01/2005. Reviewed by Dr Íomhar O' Sullivan 12/01/2007. Last review Dr IOS 16/06/21