Outcomes and research

Finding the best ways to control pain

At Children’s, we focus on research and creative ways to make a difference in the child’s experience of pain. From improving the child’s experience of pain with “pokes” to improving pain management with painful conditions and surgery, we are always looking for the best approaches for pain control. We adopt cutting-edge technologies, ask children and parents for their ideas and review evidence based practice within the field of pain. Our research is completely kid and family-focused.

Children’s is engaged in many types of research, including investigator-initiated studies (led by a Children’s clinician), as well as externally sponsored multi-center trials, observational studies and registries. Within the pain program we’re also involved in many types of research studies of pain medications, outcome studies for children with chronic pain and quality improvement projects to improve procedural pain.

Examples of these exciting research studies include:

  • Comparison of the effectiveness and tolerability of tramadol versus tramadol and gabapentin in combination for children undergoing tonsillectomy. This double-blinded, randomized, controlled trial began enrolling patients in winter of 2014.
  • Comparison of the effectiveness and tolerability of tramadol versus codeine/acetaminophen in children undergoing tonsillectomy. This was a double-blinded, randomized controlled trial in a sample of 72 children.
  • Outcome study of children and families seen by the interdisciplinary pain clinic. This study looked at the quality of life, pain intensity and physical functioning of children before and after completing the pain clinic program.
  • The No Needless Pain initiative began in 2013. This three year project was launched with the use of a replication study to identify areas of needed improvement at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Patients, families and staff were surveyed in an effort to improve pain management across the organization “wherever the children are.” Current project work is focusing on the child’s experience with needle pokes such as lab draws and IV starts. Children, parents and staff have told us where we can improve and we are listening.

We share our experience and research through publications.  One of the most recent publications is:

  • Friedrichsdorf, SJ, Postier Nugent, A, Strobl, A (2013). Codeine-Associated Death at Recommended Dosing: Three Pediatric Case Reports. Journal of Opioid Management, 9(2):151-5.

Learn more about research at Children’s and our research team.

See where else we’re doing research or have been published.

Book chapters

  • Friedrichsdorf SJ, Gibbon C, Symalla B, Remke S, Chrastek J. (2014) Integrative pain medicine and palliative care at a children’s hospital. In: Merrick J, Schofield P, Morad M (eds): “Pain: International Research in Pain Management” Nova Science Publishers, New York. pp 123-40
  • Kuttner L, Friedrichsdorf SJ (2013): Hypnosis and Palliative Care. In: Sugerman LI, Wester W C (eds): Therapeutic Hypnosis with Children and Adolescents. 2nd ed. Crown House Publishing Limited, Bethel. pp 491-509
  • Friedrichsdorf SJ (2013) Pain Management in Children with Cancer. In. Oncopedia. St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. https://www.cure4kids.org
  • Friedrichsdorf SJ, Zeltzer L (2012) Palliative Care for Children with Advanced Cancer. In: Kreitler S, Ben-Arush MW, Martin A (Eds): Pediatric Psycho-oncology: Psychosocial Aspects and Clinical Interventions, 2nd ed.  John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. pp 160-174
  • Hain RDW, Friedrichsdorf SJ (2012). Pharmacological approaches to pain. 1: ‘By the ladder’ – the WHO approach to management of pain in palliative care. In: Goldman A, Hain R, Liben S (eds.) Oxford Textbook of Palliative Care for Children. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York, pp. 218-233
  • Drake R, Friedrichsdorf SJ, Hain RDW (2012) Pharmacological approaches to pain. 2: ‘Simple analgesics and opioids. In: Goldman A, Hain R, Liben S (eds.) Oxford Textbook of Palliative Care for Children. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York. pp 234-246
  • Friedrichsdorf SJ (2011) Cancer Pain Management in Children. In: Farquhar-Smith P, Wigmore T (Eds.) Anaesthesia, intensive care, and pain management for the cancer patient. Oxford University Press. pp 215-227
  • Friedrichsdorf SJ (2011) Chapter 28: Palliative Care in Pediatric Neurology. In: Aksu F (ed) Pediatric Neurology [in German: Neuropädiatrie]. 4th edition Uni-Med Publishing Bremen, London, Boston. pp 685-704
  • Friedrichsdorf SJ, Drake R, Webster LM (2011). Chapter 33: Gastrointestinal Symptoms. In: Wolfe J, Hinds P, Sourkes BM (eds): Textbook of Interdisciplinary Pediatric Palliative Care. Elsevier/Saunders, Philadelphia. pp 311-334
  • Friedrichsdorf S, Chrastek J, Remke S (2010) Supporting transitions: effective palliative care teams. In: Pfund R, Fowler-Kerry S (Eds). Perspectives on Palliative Care for Children and Young People – A Global Discourse. Radcliffe Publishing, Oxford, New York. pp 275-289
  • Friedrichsdorf S, Kuttner L, Karl H (2010): Pharmacological Methods to Relieve Pain. In: Kuttner L. A Child in Pain. What Health Professionals Can Do to Help. Crown House Publishing, Carmarthen, Bethel. pp 221-264
  • Friedrichsdorf S, Kuttner L, Westendorp K, McCarty R (2010). Integrative Pediatric Palliative Care. In: Culbert TP, Olness K (eds): Integrative Pediatrics. Oxford University Press. Pp 569-593
  • Culbert T, Friedrichsdorf S, Kuttner L (2008). Mind/body skills for children in pain. In: Breivik H, Campbell WI, Nicholas MK (eds): Clinical Pain Management – Practice and Procedures, 2nd ed., Hodder Arnold, London. pp 479-495
  • Hain RDW, Friedrichsdorf SJ (2007) Palliative care: moving forward. In: Cartlidge P (editor): Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects of Child Healthcare. Elsevier, Edinburgh. pp 137-140




From improving day-to-day quality of life for children and teens to adopting cutting-edge technologies — we never stop reimagining health care.


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