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Sucrose and sweet taste 

Sucrose and sweet taste
Sucrose and sweet taste

Denise Harrison

, Vanessa C. Z. Anseloni

, Janet Yamada

, and Mariana Bueno

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date: 29 July 2021

Abundant evidence demonstrates pain-reducing effects of sweet solutions in human infants and animals. Analgesic effects persist up to around 1 year of age in human infants, although the effects are more moderate than seen in the neonatal period. Effects are considered to be due to the relationship between sweet taste and the endogenous opiate system. Yet, despite extensive research, knowledge gaps remain relating to the exact mechanisms, the effectiveness and safety of sweet solutions when given over prolonged periods to preterm and sick infants, the effectiveness in sick infants receiving concomitant analgesics, and the effectiveness in children older than 12 months of age. Based on the extensive evidence to support sweet solutions, their use can be recommended prior to commonly performed short lasting minor painful procedures in newborn and young infants.

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