COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

A randomized controlled trial comparing intranasal fentanyl to intravenous morphine for managing acute pain in children in the emergency department

Meredith Borland, Ian Jacobs, Barbara King, Debra O'Brien
Annals of Emergency Medicine 2007, 49 (3): 335-40
17067720

STUDY OBJECTIVE: We compare the efficacy of intranasal fentanyl versus intravenous morphine in a pediatric population presenting to an emergency department (ED) with acute long-bone fractures.

METHODS: We conducted a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial in a tertiary pediatric ED between September 2001 and January 2005. A convenience sample of children aged 7 to 15 years with clinically deformed closed long-bone fractures was included to receive either active intravenous morphine (10 mg/mL) and intranasal placebo or active intranasal concentrated fentanyl (150 microg/mL) and intravenous placebo. Exclusion criteria were narcotic analgesia within 4 hours of arrival, significant head injury, allergy to opiates, nasal blockage, or inability to perform pain scoring. Pain scores were rated by using a 100-mm visual analog scale at 0, 5, 10, 20, and 30 minutes. Routine clinical observations and adverse events were recorded.

RESULTS: Sixty-seven children were enrolled (mean age 10.9 years [SD 2.4]). Fractures were radius or ulna 53 (79.1%), humerus 9 (13.4%), tibia or fibula 4 (6.0%), and femur 1 (1.5%). Thirty-four children received intravenous (i.v.) morphine and 33 received intranasal fentanyl. Statistically significant differences in visual analog scale scores were not observed between the 2 treatment arms either preanalgesia or at 5, 10, 20, or 30 minutes postanalgesia (P=.333). At 10 minutes, the difference in mean visual analog scale between the morphine and fentanyl groups was -5 mm (95% confidence interval -16 to 7 mm). Reductions in combined pain scores occurred at 5 minutes (20 mm; P=.000), 10 minutes (4 mm; P=.012), and 20 minutes (8 mm; P=.000) postanalgesia. The mean total INF dose was 1.7 microg/kg, and the mean total i.v. morphine dose was 0.11 mg/kg. There were no serious adverse events.

CONCLUSION: Intranasal fentanyl delivered as 150 microg/mL at a dose of 1.7 microg/kg was shown to be an effective analgesic in children aged 7 to 15 years presenting to an ED with an acute fracture when compared to intravenous morphine at 0.1 mg/kg.

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