The Effect of Entonox, Play Therapy and a Combination on Pain Relief in Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Pediatric pain is often undertreated/neglected due to time constraints, difficulties in timing of oral analgesics, fear of side effects of opioids and anxiolytics, and apprehension of additional pain in the use of local anesthetic injections. In this study, the researcher was prompted to choose rapidly acting interventions that were low dose and allowed the child to stay alert, suitable for a quick discharge. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of Entonox, play therapy, and a combination to relieve procedural pain in children aged 4–15 years. The study was designed as a randomized controlled trial; the subjects were divided into four groups using a sequential allocation plan from 123 total subjects. Group A received Entonox, Group B received play therapy, Group C received both Entonox and play therapy, and Group D received existing standard interventions. The study was vetted by the departmental study review committee. The pain level was assessed using FLACC scale for children aged 4–9 years and the Wong Bakers Faces Pain Scale for children aged 10–15 years; scores ranged from 0 to 10. All the data were analyzed using SPSS 16.0 with descriptive statistics and, inferential statistics. The mean pain scores were as follows: Entonox group, 2.87; Play therapy group, 4; combination group, 3; and control group, 5.87. When statistical testing was applied, a significant reduction in the pain score in all the three experimental groups when compared to the control group was found (p= .002), but not in the pain score among the three experimental groups(p= .350). The findings of this study indicated that all three interventions were effective in lowering pain scores when compared to the control group. Play therapy is as potent as Entonox in relieving procedural pain, though there was no additive effect on pain relief when play therapy and Entonox were combined. A protocol for age-related choice between play therapy and Entonox administration was introduced as a standing order in the Pediatric Surgery department for acute procedural pain relief.

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