Optimizing sustained use of sedation in mechanically ventilated patients: Focus on safety

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Current Drug Safety


Optimizing sustained use of ICU sedation in mechanically ventilated patients requires careful consideration of drug-specific characteristics (E.G. pharmacokinetics), consideration of potential adverse effects in susceptible patients, and utilization of sedationminimizing strategies. In the era of anxiolytic dosing protocols adjusted to specific patient behaviors as defined by sedation scales in conjunction with daily interruption, midazolam is a reasonable option for long-term sedation. Propofol is an appealing agent for ICU sedation due to it's pharmacokinetic profile and a reduced propensity to result in prolonged sedation. However, care should be taken to monitor for potential devastating adverse effects including hypertriglyceridemia and propofol-related infusion syndrome (PRIS). Dexmedetomidine unreliably provides adequate sedation at doses currently approved by the FDA, though upward titration of dexmedetomidine coupled with rescue benzodiazepines and/or fentanyl appears to be safe and comparable to benzodiazepines in the achievement of light to moderate Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale (RASS) goals. Clinicians should closely monitor patients receiving dexmedetomidine for hemodynamic-altering bradycardia. Strategies that promote frequent patient assessment with corresponding sedative dose minimization have demonstrated the benefits of limiting oversedation. Implementation of a sedation protocol requires careful consideration of ICU resources and staffing such that efforts made are sustainable and will be safe and effective for the patient population affected. © 2010 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.

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