Waiting to Inhale. Part 1

Who hasn’t winced at hearing these words of reassurance in a healthcare setting? But getting a shot with today’s sharper, smaller needles may be nearly pain free.

This doesn’t mean alternative ways of delivering medication won’t be welcome — especially for children, diabetics, migraine headache sufferers and others who must receive certain prescription drugs by injection.

Analgesic Advance
Pain relief in youngsters is one of the newest ways inhaled meds are being used.пїЅпїЅ

In the February issue of the British Medical Journal, Jason Kendall, M.D., and his colleagues at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, England, announced the results of a three-year study of a nasal spray developed to provide children with pain relief during emergency treatment for a broken bone.

More than 400 boys and girls between the ages of three and 16 who had just broken their arm or leg were studied. About half were given an analgesic nose spray containing the morphine derivative diamorphine, and the other half were given morphine the traditional way — via injection.

Kendall and his team found the nasal spray worked faster and was as effective as the shot in relieving the pain as long as 30 minutes later. Virtually all parents rated the spray an acceptable means of analgesia for their child, compared to 72 percent who rated the shot as acceptable. Neither method was associated with unexpected complications.

“This study provides evidence that the nasal administration of analgesics is appropriate,” said Kendall. “It could become the norm, rather than the exception, in many circumstances with many uses besides the ones we examined in our study, including use in adults, as well as for conditions such as severe burns, post-surgical pain and terminal illness.”

Kendall noted that for the youngest children, in particular, the ability to deliver an effective dose of pain medication without a needle represents a big improvement in care. Children invariably cry when the doctor starts talking about a shot or brings out the needle,” he explained. “About half of the children in our study who received an injection cried or screamed during the procedure,” he said. Only 3 percent of those given the nasal spray reacted in this way.”

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