New app for dosing pain medication in children

Medication is the most common pain management tool that health care professionals use to help patients through their treatment and recovery. For adults the dose is often standard, but for children, a safe and effective dose of medicine depends on several factors including the weight and age of the child.

In efforts to improve paediatric pain management, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) created a medical app called PediPain, that focuses on the medications used to manage pain in children.

“This easy-to-use app puts critical dosing information at the medical team’s fingertips,” says Clyde Matava, creator of PediPain and Staff Anaesthesiologist in the Department of Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine at SickKids . “It will not only help physicians prescribe pain medication, but will also help nurses and other health professionals (who do not prescribe medication) to double check the dose before administering medicine to their patient.”


When physicians are determining pain medication dosages, they often rely on a ‘clunky’ textbook with charts and tables that describe the dose according to the age and weight of the child. Several calculations are also required to determine the appropriate dose. Pedipain is an electronic iteration of the Acute Pain Service protocols currently used at SickKids. It is a portable and reliable tool that does these calculations for the medical professional following the entering of the age and weight of a specific patient. The app includes an opioid dose converter, and a weight/age based analgesic dose calculator to guide health-care practitioners in the pain management of perioperative pain in paediatric patients.

“We are always looking for opportunities to improve pain management for children. This includes making sure medical professionals have new and innovative tools to help deliver the best possible care for our patients,” says Dr. Basem Naser, Director of the Acute Pain Service in Anaesthesia at SickKids. “Pedipain will put knowledge in the hands of new trainees and make medication information more accessible. We hope it will also contribute to reducing the potential for dose calculation errors.”

Pedipain houses a database of pain medications that includes other drug options for physicians to consider for their patients. The app also provides recommendations for managing pain for routine day surgery cases as well as for inpatients. Some other features include pain score tools, updates on the latest pain management research, and potential drug side effects and management.

PediPain is available to all healthcare professionals (residents, nurses and staff) at SickKids, and is widely available on iTunes for $4.99. The app has already been downloaded in more than 25 countries. Proceeds from this app will be used for enhancements and research into pain management in children.


Dr Matava is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anaesthesia at the University of Toronto and worked with Information Services at SickKids and industry partner Osellus to develop the app.

Pedipain is a SickKids branded mobile application. With guidance and support from Faye Bennard and Xanthos Charalambous in Information Services and Susana Andres in Industry Partnerships & Commercialization, Matava was able to take PediPain from concept to fruition following SickKids mobile app’s framework