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Adding a topical local anesthetic to a decongestant did not reduce discomfort among children undergoing flexible endoscopy of the upper airway and was similar to placebo, a randomized trial found.

Mean pain scores rated by the children were statistically similar in all three randomized groups: 2.4 for placebo, 2.2 for a decongestant with topical local anesthetic, and 1.8 for a decongestant without topical local anesthetic, according to Neil K. Chadha, MBChB, MPHe, of the British Columbia Children's Hospital in Vancouver, and colleagues.

Numerically, the decongestant without a topical local anesthetic was associated with the lowest discomfort as rated by the child, caregiver, and an observer -- all of whom were blinded, researchers reported online Oct. 24 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

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