Pain management in the acute care setting: Update and debates

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Abstract

Pain management in the paediatric acute care setting is underutilised and can be improved. An awareness of the analgesic options available and their limitations is an important starting point. This article describes the evolving understanding of relevant pharmacogenomics and safety data of the various analgesic agents with a focus on agents available in Australia and New Zealand. It highlights the concerns with the use of codeine in children and discusses alternative oral opioids. Key features of oral, parenteral, inhaled and intranasal analgesic agents are discussed, as well as evidence supported use of sweet tasting solutions and non-pharmacological interventions. One of the biggest changes in acute care pain management has been the advent of intranasal fentanyl providing reliable potent analgesia without the need for intravenous access. The article will also address the issue of multimodal analgesia where a single agent is insufficient.

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