ICU Sedation: Dexmedetomidine
What is dexmedetomidine?
Dexmedetomidine (Precedexâ) works in the brain to cause sedation (sleepiness, drowsiness) and decrease anxiety. It has a calming effect and makes the patient feel more comfortable especially when they are on the breathing machine.
Why is dexmedetomidine important?
Patients in an intensive care unit, especially ones who require a breathing machine (mechanical ventilator) to help their breathing, may be anxious and uncomfortable. Dexmedetomidine can help decrease their anxiety and make them more comfortable. This will help make them breathe more easily while on the ventilator.
How will the patient look or feel on dexmedetomidine?
The patient will look very relaxed and may look like they are sleeping. A unique property of dexmedetomidine is that patients can be awoken and follow simple commands. Then the patient will go back to being sedated. When the patient is not stimulated, they will feel calm and less anxious.
What are the side effects of dexmedetomidine?
Dexmedetomidine causes relatively few side effects. It can cause a decrease in heart rate or decrease in blood pressure, so the patient will be followed closely by the medical staff.
How long will dexmedetomidine be continued?
The length of time the patient requires dexmedetomidine will depend on their medical condition. The medical staff will regularly evaluate if the dexmedetomidine is still necessary.
If you have questions about dexmedetomidine or other questions relating to the patient’s care, please ask the staff in the intensive care unit.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 05/14/2013
Copyright © 05/14/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7079
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