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[Pain therapy in pediatric oncology: pain experience, drugs and pharmacokinetics]

Journal title
Anasthesiologie, Intensivmedizin, Notfallmedizin, Schmerztherapie : AINS
Publication year
Mertens, R.

Paediatric cancer patients often experience fear and pain from the disease but also in connection with the necessary diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. The treatment of pain is a priority for all patients, especially for critically ill children because of their vulnerability and limited understanding. The experience of pain is always subjective and depends on the age, the pain experience and the environment.In contrast to adults, it is often difficult to detect character of pain, pain intensity and pain localization in very young patients. Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures are performed in analgosedation for a given drug scheme by a pediatrician experienced in intensive care.In addition, a local anesthetic for an access system/lumbar punctures in the form of EMLA(R) patch is to be carried out. A rapid and effective treatment of pain and appropriate analgesia can prevent patients from being traumatized.For severe pain, malignancy- or chemotherapy-induced (eg. mucositis WHO grade 3 and 4) initial use of strong opiates is recommended instead of climbing the WHO ladder. For strong opiates, there is no maximum dose, as long as a dose increase leads to clinically observable increase in analgesia, without severe side effects. Patient-controlled analgesia with morphine as continuous subcutaneous or intravenous infusions and the possibility of a bolus injection is suited for children aged 6 years. A measurement of O2-saturation is essential during this infusion. Prophylactic approaches also must be used consistently in regard to the acute side effect of opiate treatment. Good experience, we have also made a non-drug therapy, e.g. personnel/physical affection, cuddling, massage, etc.The choice of analgesia depends on the nature and cause of pain. In neuropathic pain or phantom pain coanalgetics should be used to effectively treat pain in young patients. Different analgesic treatment approaches of the appropriate indications and adverse effects are presented. A particular challenge for the pediatrician is the sufficient and adequate pain therapy in palliative care.

Research abstracts