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Semin Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2018 Apr 1:1089253218768537. doi: 10.1177/1089253218768537. [Epub ahead of print]

Enteral Guanfacine to Treat Severe Anxiety and Agitation Complicating Critical Care After Cardiac Surgery.

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1 University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA.


This article is the first reported case describing the off-label use of enteral immediate-release guanfacine, a long-acting α-2 adrenergic agonist most commonly used in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, for sedation in a patient with severe anxiety and agitation limiting mechanical ventilation weaning several days after cardiac surgery. In this case, after several days of unsuccessful attempts to control his agitation and anxiety with conventional therapies, guanfacine therapy was initiated, and the patient was rapidly weaned from all other sedatives and mechanical ventilation shortly thereafter. The patient was weaned from guanfacine therapy without evidence of bradycardia, hypotension, or rebound syndrome. Enteral guanfacine therapy should be further studied as a potentially useful and cost-effective sedative therapy for patients with severe anxiety and/or agitation in the intensive care unit following cardiac and thoracic surgical procedures.


cognitive dysfunction; critical care; intensive care unit; postoperative care; withdrawal


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