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Crit Care Clin. 2001 Oct;17(4):881-97.

New agents for sedation in the intensive care unit.

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  • 1Sir Ivan Magill Department of Anaesthetics and Intensive Care, Division of Surgery, Anaesthetics, and Intensive Care, Imperial College School of Medicine, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


Several advances are likely to benefit the ICU patient requiring sedation, analgesia, and anxiolysis. The cooperative sedation induced by dexmedetomidine is a unique and valuable state that allows patients to be aroused easily and interferes little with ventilation. Remifentanil is the prototype of short-acting drugs, providing fast onset and offset; its relatively high cost may be balanced by limiting the risk for long-lasting respiratory depression. Lorazepam seems to be finding more proponents, especially in long-term ICU sedation where the costs of the newer agents may be prohibitive.

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