The efficacy and safety of fentanyl for the management of severe procedural pain in patients with burn injuries

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation








Fentanyl has been shown to be effective for the management of intense pain of short duration. We have recently used intravenous fentanyl for burn wound procedures because of its rapid onset, high potency, and short duration. In this report, we reviewed our experience with fentanyl in a variety of procedural burn pain settings to develop specific recommendations about its effectiveness and safety for the treatment of pain in patients with burn injuries. The medical records of patients with burn injuries who received fentanyl for wound procedures over a 2-year period were retrospectively, reviewed. Patient demographics, the amount of fentanyl administered, the level of analgesia achieved, and the incidence of adverse effects were analyzed. Fifty-five patients who were 9 months to 75 years old with burn wounds (range, 1%-90% of total body surface area) received 148 doses of fentanyl for the treatment of procedural pain. An average of 8.0 ± 7.0 μg/kg of fentanyl (range, 0.7 to 38.0 μg/kg) was required for the first wound procedure with fentanyl. No correlation between dosage of fentanyl given and either age or percentage of total body surface area burned was observed. Transient respiratory depression was observed in 17 patients (31%). No patient required intubation or additional supplemental oxygen after the conclusion of the procedure. High doses of fentanyl are required to achieve adequate analgesia during some burn wound procedures. Respiratory depression associated with fentanyl use is transient but requires adequate preparation and trained personnel. Fentanyl may be effectively integrated into the pain control strategy for patients with burn injuries.

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