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Sickle cell pain control

Our commitment to pain management

The health care team at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota believes that infants and children have a right to the best level of pain relief that can be safely provided. Therefore, we take a team approach to pain and anxiety management using drug and non-drug therapies. Our goal is to have staff and families work together to evaluate pain promptly and treat it effectively.

How can I care for my child?

Give extra fluids.

While the pain continues have your child drink about double the normal amount of water or any clear liquid. Examples are juice, ice chips, broth, soda, Jell-O®, Popsicles®.

The amount your child needs is based on weight. Check the chart for the amount to give during each 24 hours while in pain.

Weight in pounds (lb.) Number of 8-ounce cups per day
10 lb. 2 cups
15 lb. 3 cups
20 lb. 4 cups
25 lb. 5 cups
30 lb. 5 to 6 cups
35 lb. 6 to 7 cups
40 lb. 7 cups
50 lb.  8 cups
60 lb. 9 cups
More than 60 lb. 10 or more cups

Give pain medicines while the pain continues.

Ibuprofen (Motrin® or another brand)       mg (ml / tablets) by mouth every 6 hours, starting at      

Acetaminophen (Tylenol® or another brand)        mg (ml / tablets) by mouth every 6 hours, starting at      

Oxycodone       mg (ml / tablets) by mouth every 6 hours, starting at      

Alternate the ibuprofen and acetaminophen, or ibuprofen and oxycodone, so your child is receiving something every 3 hours. Continue this for 24 hours, then gradually give them less often, according to how your child feels.

Other instructions:

Colace        mg (ml / tablets) by mouth

Miralax        grams by mouth

It is important to let your hematology provider know at a clinic visit that your child needs more oxycodone. This medication cannot be called to a pharmacy.

What else can I do for pain?

  • Give warm baths.
  • Use a warm moist towel or a heating pad. Make sure they are warm, not hot. Check the skin often to make sure it is not getting too warm.
  • Gentle massage of the area that hurts can be helpful.
  • Relaxation and distraction, such as quiet games, stories, music, or videos may help your child focus on other things.

When should I call the clinic?

Call for advice if:

  • vomiting, unable to keep medicines or fluids down
  • diarrhea
  • pain increases, or lasts longer than 72 hours
  • any concerns

Call to be seen right away if:

  • fever: temperature of 101.5º F (38.6º C) or higher
  • severe headache
  • dizziness
  • breathing problems
  • chest pain
  • severe stomach pain
  • swelling in abdomen (belly)
  • painful erection of the penis
  • any type of seizure
  • weakness
  • unable to move part of the body

If you cannot contact your provider, go to the emergency room.


These instructions are to be used only under the advice of your child's doctor or nurse practitioner. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Hematology/Oncology clinic: Children's - Minneapolis 612-813-5940. If you call after office hours, the answering service will contact the provider on call, who will call you back.

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Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Patient/Family Education
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Last Reviewed 7/2015 © Copyright


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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Family Resource Center library, or visit

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