UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Toxicology

Title: Dexmedetomidine (Precedex)

Keywords: sedation, dexmedetomidine (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/26/2012 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Updated: 7/14/2024)
Click here to contact Fermin Barrueto, MD

Dexmedetomidine is an alpha2-agonist that has a similiar mechanism of action to clonidine. Short half-life and no respiratory depression make it possibly more effective than propofol in procedural sedation. Cost/Availability are the biggest barriers. Transient bradycardia is also possible but the actual incidence  of clinically significant bradycardia is not yet elucidated.

I am still awaiting the first emergency department study looking at dexmedetomidine for procedural sedation.

A recent article actually brought up the possibility of utilizing it intranasally which could have some tantalizing pediatric applications.



A double-blind, crossover assessment of the sedative and analgesic effects of intranasal dexmedetomidine.

Yuen VM, Irwin MG, Hui TW, Yuen MK, Lee LH.

Anesth Analg. 2007 Aug;105(2):374-80.