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Anesth Analg. 2011 Nov;113(5):1129-42. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e31822b8629. Epub 2011 Aug 4.

Review article: Dexmedetomidine in children: current knowledge and future applications.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


More than 200 studies and reports have been published regarding the use of dexmedetomidine in infants and children. We reviewed the English literature to summarize the current state of knowledge of this drug in children for the practicing anesthesiologist. Dexmedetomidine is an effective sedative for infants and children that only minimally depresses the respiratory system while maintaining a patent airway. However, dexmedetomidine does depress the cardiovascular system. Specifically, bradycardia, hypotension, and hypertension occur to varying degrees depending on the age of the child. Hypertension is more prevalent when larger doses of dexmedetomidine are given to infants. Consistent with its 2-hour elimination half-life, recovery after dexmedetomidine may be protracted in comparison with other sedatives. Dexmedetomidine provides and augments analgesia and diminishes shivering as well as agitation postoperatively. The safety record of dexmedetomidine suggests that it can be used effectively and safely in children, with appropriate monitoring and interventions to manage cardiovascular sequelae.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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