UMEM Educational Pearls

The literature is not completely new regarding the use of intranasal dexmedetomidine for pediatric sedation, with several articles confirming noninferiority to benzodiazepines. It is a potent a2- adrenergic receptor agonist, which allows for sedation without analgesic properties. It can be considered for patients who are undergoing PAINLESS procedures. A recent article gave further clarification for dosing considerations when selecting this option. This study assessed varying weight-based doses and found the best effect with doses of 3 to 4 mcg/kg  


Importantly, there is limited data that suggests this may result in longer discharge, duration of procedure and total time in the department compared to other sedation methods. Additionally, this option is not always readily available and approved for pediatric patients in every hospital.  


Overall, Dexmedetomidine may be an excellent option for painless procedures, such as CT imaging or even MRI based on the literature, when available. 



Poonai N, Sabhaney V, Ali S, Stevens H, Bhatt M, Trottier ED, Brahmbhatt S, Coriolano K, Chapman A, Evans N, Mace C, Creene C, Meulendyks S, Heath A. Optimal Dose of Intranasal Dexmedetomidine for Laceration Repair in Children: A Phase II Dose-Ranging Study. Ann Emerg Med. 2023 Aug;82(2):179-190. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2023.01.023. Epub 2023 Mar 3. PMID: 36870890.

Tsze DS, Rogers AP, Baier NM, Paquin JR, Majcina R, Phelps JR, Hollenbeck A, Sulton CD, Cravero JP. Clinical Outcomes Associated With Intranasal Dexmedetomidine Sedation in Children. Hosp Pediatr. 2023 Mar 1;13(3):223-243. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2022-007007. PMID: 36810939.

Lewis J, Bailey CR. Intranasal dexmedetomidine for sedation in children; a review. J Perioper Pract. 2020 Jun;30(6):170-175. doi: 10.1177/1750458919854885. Epub 2019 Jun 27. PMID: 31246159.