iPads as effective as sedatives in reducing anxiety before surgery, paediatric trial shows

Researchers in France found that iPads were just as effective as midazolam in children and their parents were more satisfied.

Child using an iPad

Children undergoing operations are often given benzodiazepine sedatives to soothe anxiety before anaesthesia. Recently, non-pharmacological methods have also been used, such as iPads. 

Researchers at Hospices Civils de Lyon, France, conducted a randomised control trial to compare the effectiveness of iPads to midazolam in children aged 4–10 years. 

They found that anxiety levels at four different time points were no different between the 55 children administered midazolam compared with the 60 given an iPad to play with 20 minutes before anaesthesia. 

In addition, nurses and parents of the children given iPads were more satisfied with the anaesthesia procedure overall. 

The researchers, who presented their results at the World Congress of Anaestheologists in Hong Kong on 28 August 2016[1]
, conclude that midazolam and iPads are equally effective at reducing stress, but that iPad use comes without sedation.


 [1] De Queiroz Siqueira M, Tosseti S, Marechal C et al. Effect of iPad tablet on children and parental anxiety during anesthesia. World Congress of Anaestheologists, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre 28 August – 2 September 2016.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, September 2016;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201668