BACKGROUND: Complications of opioid analgesia include tolerance and withdrawal. OBJECTIVES: To determine the effects of morphine and fentanyl on the prevalence of withdrawal after extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. METHODS: Two groups of neonates were compared during and after extracorporeal membrane oxygenation: a prospective group receiving a continuous infusion of morphine for analgesia and sedation and a retrospective group who had received a continuous infusion of fentanyl. RESULTS: Neonates receiving morphine required significantly less supplemental analgesia (P < .001) than did neonates who had received fentanyl and had a significantly lower prevalence of withdrawal after the therapy (P = .01). Neonates receiving morphine were discharged from the hospital a mean of 9.6 days sooner (P = .01) than neonates who had received fentanyl. CONCLUSIONS: Morphine may offer marked advantages over fentanyl for providing continuous analgesia and sedation in neonates.

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