Which medications in the drug class Opioid Analgesics are used in the treatment of Necrotizing Enterocolitis?

Updated: Dec 27, 2017
  • Author: Shelley C Springer, JD, MD, MSc, MBA, FAAP; Chief Editor: Muhammad Aslam, MD  more...
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Opioid Analgesics

Although difficult to assess, premature infants presumably experience pain with severe illness and invasive procedures. Narcotic analgesics are safe and effective in premature infants and have a long history of clinical experience.

Morphine sulfate (Duramorph, Astramorph, Oramorph SR, MS Contin)

Morphine sulfate is an opioid analgesic with a long history of safe and effective use in neonates. It inhibits ascending pain pathways by binding to the opiate receptors in the CNS, causing generalized CNS depression. Morphine sulfate is used for sedation and analgesia.

Fentanyl (Onsolis, Fentora, Actiq, Duragesic)

Fentanyl is an opioid analgesic that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine. Its mechanism of action and indications for use are similar to those of morphine; however, fentanyl has less hypotensive effect than morphine does, because of minimal to no associated histamine release. Fentanyl is administered as an IV bolus or as a continuous infusion. Because of the small volumes used in neonates for bolus administration, it is not usually cost-effective to administer as a bolus.

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