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November 2014

Pediatric Pain Management and OpioidsThe Baby and the Bathwater

Author Affiliations
  • 1Pain Treatment Service, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Anesthesiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(11):987-988. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.1441

In the past 30 years, a major shift has occurred in the way that pediatric pain is conceptualized and treated. Although pain management was widely viewed as inadequate in adults in the 1970s, the classic report by Eland and Anderson1 documented that children’s pain management was far worse, with an almost total disregard of procedural and postoperative pain. The emerging recognition that, in addition to being inhumane, inadequate pain treatment had short- and long-term negative consequences in children stimulated an outpouring of research that began to unravel the neurobiological attributes of nociception and identification of techniques to assess and treat pain.

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