Background: Acute pain in hospitalized pediatric patients is prevalent. Recent shifts in the
paradigm of pediatric acute pain management focus less on reliance on opioids, due to their adverse
side effects and risk of dependence, and more on multimodal pain management.
Objective: We sought to review the most recent studies on acute pain management in hospitalized pediatric
Method: We searched the Cochrane Database and PubMed for articles published in the past five years
regarding the treatment of acute pain in pediatric patients focusing on large randomized or quasirandomized
controlled trials, cohort trials, and meta-analyses.
Results: We categorized results into non-pharmacological, localized, non-opiate pharmacological, and
opiate based therapies. Recent studies show that environmental and non-pharmacological methods of
pain management are efficacious in infants. School aged children benefit from active distraction more
than passive distraction. Needleless methods of introducing lidocaine locally alleviate the pain associated
with many procedures to which hospitalized children are exposed. The shift towards use of nonopiate
pharmacology focuses on novel means of utilizing older medications, such as intravenous parecoxib,
inhaled methoxyflurane, and sublingual ketorolac or tramadol and the avoidance of codeine.
Conclusion: Acute pediatric pain management has changed to emphasize multimodal and multidisciplinary
therapy. In all children, non-pharmacological therapies should be employed routinely. Given
the myriad tools available, pediatric acute pain services have developed in order to integrate more advanced
treatments such as nerve blocks and infusions of centrally acting pain modulators.