The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
Dexmedetomidine (Precedex) for ICU Sedation
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Opioids, benzodiazepines, propofol, antipsychotics and dexmedetomidine (Precedex) are frequently used in the intensive care unit (ICU) to manage pain, anxiety, agitation and delirium, and to facilitate procedures such as mechanical ventilation. The use of dexmedetomidine, a centrally-acting selective α2-receptor agonist approved by the FDA in 1999, has been increasing in recent years.1 Some new studies comparing it to other drugs for ICU sedation have been published.

PHARMACOLOGY — Dexmedetomidine has sedative, anxiolytic and analgesic properties and may have opioid- and benzodiazepine-sparing effects. It has an onset of action of 15-30 minutes, which is delayed compared to midazolam or propofol. Serum concentrations of the drug peak in about an hour and its effects persist for about 3 hours after the infusion is stopped.

CLINICAL STUDIES — ... more      

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Title: Dexmedetomidine (Precedex) for ICU Sedation
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