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Tue, Nov 03

In search of a safe painkiller for kids

Imagine your alarm ringing in the early morning. You reach over and hit the snooze button, but the buzzing won’t stop. In desperation, you unplug the clock, take out the batteries, even throw the darn thing against the wall—but defying all reason, the noise repeats endlessly. This is how Rachael Coakley, a psychologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, describes life with chronic pain: a broken alarm clock in the body, the pain constantly ringing out, with no purpose and no relief.

Thirty years ago, clinicians questioned whether or not infants could even feel pain, labeling an infant’s pain response as a “reflex.” Today, some studies using MRI scans suggest that babies may experience pain more intensely than adults. But while adults can choose from a plethora of pain pills to stop the metaphorical clock—Vicodin, Percocet, Dilaudid—the options for children are much more limited. Pediatric patients are far less likely to be prescribed narcotics; instead, they’re often given inadequate doses of analgesia, leaving their pain unresolved, often for months at a time.

Read the full story from The Atlantic.