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Nasogastric (NG) tube insertion is a common procedure in the clinical setting that causes much discomfort and pain for the patient. Pain control is often suboptimal, as many NG tube insertions are performed without any pain-relieving supplements. The aim of this study was to summarize and critically evaluate the evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the effect and adverse effects of lidocaine agents in reducing pain and discomfort associated with NG tube insertion.Databases from the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Airiti Library, PerioPath Index to Taiwan Periodical Literature, and Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL) were searched from inception to April 2017. RCTs focusing on lidocaine before NG tube insertion were appraised. The primary outcome was the visual analog scale (VAS) score. The modified Jadad scale was used for quality assessment. Mean difference (MD) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) and odds ratio (OR) for binary outcomes were assessed by a random effects model. Heterogeneity was determined by using the Cochran Q test and I2 statistics. Publication bias was analyzed by using a funnel plot analysis.Ten RCTs enrolling 734 patients were included in the meta-analysis. Eight of the 10 RCTs reporting VAS scores had sufficient quantitative data to be pooled through meta-analysis. Results revealed a significant reduction in VAS score, with a MD of −26.05 and a CI of −28.21 to −23.89 with moderate heterogeneity (P < .001, I2 = 56%). There were no significant changes in difficulty of NG tube insertions (MD = −0.30, 95% CI, −1.30 to 0.70, P = .55), number of NG tube insertion attempts (MD = −0.22, 95% CI, −0.98 to 0.53, P = .56), nasal bleeding (OR = 0.62, 95% CI, 0.11–3.41, P = .59), and vomiting (OR = 0.30, 95% CI, 0.07–1.27, P = .10).This meta-analysis suggests that applying lidocaine before NG tube insertion can alleviate pain and discomfort by 26% without increasing nasal bleeding or vomiting.