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Pre-hospital intranasal analgesia for children suffering pain: a rapid evidence review

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Introduction: Pre-hospital analgesic treatment of injured children is suboptimal, with very few children in pain receiving analgesia. Studies have identified a number of barriers to pre-hospital pain management in children which include the route of analgesia administration. The aim of this review is to critically evaluate the pre-hospital literature, exploring the safety and efficacy of intranasal (IN) analgesics for children suffering pain.

Methods: We performed a rapid evidence review, searching from inception to 17 December 2018, CINAHL, MEDLINE and Google Scholar. We included studies of children < 18 years suffering pain who were administered any IN analgesic in the pre-hospital setting. Our outcomes were effective pain management, defined as a pain score reduction of ≥ 2 out of 10, safety and rates of analgesia administration. Screening and risk of bias assessments were performed in duplicate. We performed a narrative synthesis.

Results: From 310 articles screened, 23 received a full-text review resulting in 10 articles included. No interventional studies were found. Most papers reported on the use of intranasal fentanyl (INF) (n = 8) with one reporting IN ketamine and the other IN S-ketamine. Narrative synthesis showed that INF appeared safe and effective at reducing pain; however, its ability to increase analgesia administration rates was unclear. The effectiveness, safety and ability of IN ketamine and S-ketamine to increase analgesia administration rates were unclear. There was no evidence for IN diamorphine for children in this setting.

Conclusion: Interventional studies are needed to determine with a higher confidence the effectiveness and safety of IN analgesics (fentanyl, ketamine, S-ketamine, diamorphine) for children in the pre-hospital setting.
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Keywords: administration, intranasal; child; emergency medical services

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2019

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