Improving the Emergency Department Management of Sickle Cell Vaso-Occlusive Pain Crisis: The Role and Options of Sublingual and Intranasally Administered Analgesia

Ademola S. Ojo, Olumayowa G. Odipe, Oluwanifemi Owoseni


Vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC), characterized by periods of excruciating pain is the most common clinical manifestation of sickle cell disease (SCD), often resulting in emergency room presentation. These patients often experience long wait times in the emergency department before receiving their first dose of analgesia. This delay results from the complexities of the emergency care system. Using the intranasal or sublingual approach to administering analgesia to SCD patients with VOC offers a fast, safe, noninvasive, atraumatic, and easily accessible route of administration which could reduce the time to first dose of analgesia. With the evolving advances in the development and delivery of analgesic medications, providers should be conversant with the nuances of intranasal and sublingual analgesia in the management of acute vaso-occlusive pain crisis. This review explores the pharmacokinetic profiles, dosages, and administration of intranasal and sublingual analgesics with relevance to the SCD population.

J Clin Med Res. 2023;15(1):10-22


Sickle cell disease; Vaso-occlusive crisis; Analgesics; Intranasal; Sublingual; Emergency department; Opioid; NSAID

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