Pain management in pediatric chronic kidney disease

Amanda Reis, Caitlyn Luecke, Thomas Keefe Davis, Aadil Kakajiwala

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Pain is a common problem in children with chronic kidney disease (CKD); however, limited data exist regarding its management. Although most pain is managed pharmacologically, in some instances non-pharmacologic management can aid in safely ameliorating discomfort. Because of the accumulation of toxic metabolites, many common pain medications have adverse effects on kidney function or altered pharmacokinetics in the setting of CKD. Decreased clearance impacts safe dosing of analgesics. The pain management of patients on renal replacement therapy requires an understanding of drug clearance due to the different modalities of dialysis. This educational review highlights pain medications that are safe, albeit often with adjusted dosing, as well as drugs best avoided in the management of pediatric kidney disease. Acetaminophen should be used as a first-line therapy for pain management in children with CKD. Opioids may be added to control moderate to severe pain. Although data are currently lacking, buprenorphine holds promise as a potentially useful drug for the treatment of pain in pediatric patients with CKD. The addition of adjuvant pain medications and non-pharmacologic therapies maybe also be helpful. Despite these options, pain often remains difficult to treat in children with CKD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-202
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Analgesia
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Dialysis
  • Nephrology
  • Pain
  • Pediatrics


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