What is the role of barbiturates in emergency department (ED) sedation?

Updated: Nov 06, 2018
  • Author: Arul M Lingappan, MD; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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Barbiturates are very potent sedatives. Some of the more common uses include induction for endotracheal intubation and ED sedation. They possess primarily sedative properties and some amnestic effects but no analgesic properties. Like benzodiazepines, they are often used as adjuncts to analgesics for painful procedures. Barbiturates should be given with caution to persons with COPD, as they have been shown in early studies to increase the potential for respiratory suppressive effects. [1]

Drugs in the barbiturates class include methohexital and thiopental.

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