What is the role of dexmedetomidine (Precedex) in procedural sedation?

Updated: Nov 06, 2018
  • Author: Arul M Lingappan, MD; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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Procedural sedation

Dexmedetomidine is also indicated for sedation of nonintubated patients prior to and/or during surgical and other procedures. The drug has several characteristics that make its use for procedural sedation very appealing. First, it provides little to no respiratory depression. [26] Also, patients are able to follow commands and respond to verbal and tactile stimulus but fall quickly asleep when not stimulated. It does provide some pain relief, like ketamine, but not to the same degree. This makes the use of other analgesics necessary for the more painful procedures. Minimal cardiovascular effects are seen and include mild bradycardia and a decrease in systemic vascular resistance. [27] Onset of action is rapid and the drug’s half-life is approximately 4 minutes after a 10-minute infusion. [28] Dexmedetomidine is 1600 times more selective for alpha2 than alpha1 receptors and provides predictable results. [29]

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