What are the additional actions of sedating medications?

Updated: Nov 06, 2018
  • Author: Arul M Lingappan, MD; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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The medications used during sedation typically have additional beneficial effects, as important as sedation. These actions include the following:

  • Anxiolysis - Relief of trepidation or agitation with minimal alteration of sensorium

  • Amnesia - Lapse in memory for a period of time

  • Analgesia - Relief of pain without an altered sensorium

Sedatives typically have more than one of these actions, although one may predominate. The ideal sedative would exhibit all of the above qualities; most do not. Medications with different qualities are commonly coadministered to compensate for any shortcomings. For example, midazolam is primarily an anxiolytic with some amnestic qualities that is often mixed with fentanyl, primarily an analgesic. When drugs are used as adjuncts, decreasing the dose of each respective drug is important, so as to decrease the incidence of adverse effects.

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