UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Title: Targeted Temperature Management's Effect on Drugs

Keywords: targeted temperature management, drug (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/27/2015 by Bryan Hayes, PharmD (Emailed: 10/3/2015) (Updated: 10/3/2015)
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An excellent new review article provides a detailed look at how the drugs we give are affected by targeted temperature management. Here is a helpful chart of drug alterations that have data in reduced body temperature states:

Other Important Points:

  1. Lingering effects of sedatives may confound prognostication and may even mimic brain death. Concentrations of remifentanil, propofol, and midazolam decrease during rewarming, whereas no change has been demonstrated for fentanyl, indicating that the pharmacokinetic alterations fentanyl incurs during induction and maintenance of hypothermia persist during and following the rewarming phase.
  2. Continuous infusions of analgesics, sedatives, and hemodynamic support agents may require closer monitoring and smaller incremental changes compared to normothermic states.
  3. The QTc interval is increased in TTM, though it has not been associated with an increased risk of torsades de pointes or in-hospital mortality.


Sunjic KM, et al. Pharmacokinetic and other considerations for drug therapy during targeted temperature management. Crit Care Med 2015;43:2228-38. [PMID 26237312]

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