Clinically meaningful pain reduction with respect to severity and the adverse events of drugs used in prehospital pain management for children are areas that have not received sufficient attention. The present systematic review therefore aims to perform a comprehensive search of databases to examine the preferable drugs for prehospital pain relief in paediatric patients with acute pain, irrespective of aetiology. The systematic review includes studies from 2000 and up to 2020 that focus on children's prehospital pain management. The study protocol is registered in PROSPERO with registration no. CRD42019126699. Pharmacological pain management using any type of analgesic drug and in all routes of administration was included. The main outcomes were (1) measurable pain reduction (effectiveness) and (2) no occurrence of any serious adverse events. Searches were conducted in PubMed, Medline, Embase, CINAHL, Epistemonikos and Cochrane library. Finally, the risk of bias was assessed using the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) checklist and a textual narrative analysis was performed due to the heterogeneity of the results. The present systematic review on the effectiveness and safety of analgesic drugs in prehospital pain relief in children identified a total of eight articles. Most of the articles reviewed identified analgesic drugs such as fentanyl (intranasal/IV), morphine (IV), methoxyflurane (inhalational) and ketamine (IV/IM). The effects of fentanyl, morphine and methoxyflurane were examined and all of the included analgesic drugs were evaluated as effective. Adverse events of fentanyl, methoxyflurane and ketamine were also reported, although none of these were considered serious. The systematic review revealed that fentanyl, morphine, methoxyflurane and combination drugs are effective analgesic drugs for children in prehospital settings. No serious adverse events were reported following the administration of fentanyl, methoxyflurane and ketamine. Intranasal fentanyl and inhalational methoxyflurane seem to be the preferred drugs for children in pre-hospital settings due to their ease of administration, similar effect and safety profile when compared to other analgesic drugs. However, the level of evidence (LOE) in the included studies was only three or four, and further studies are therefore necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170
Number of pages1
JournalScandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
Early online date11 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021


  • Humans
  • Fentanyl
  • Analgesics
  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Child
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Acute Pain


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