New agents for sedation in the intensive care unit

Crit Care Clin. 2001 Oct;17(4):881-97. doi: 10.1016/s0749-0704(05)70185-8.


Several advances are likely to benefit the ICU patient requiring sedation, analgesia, and anxiolysis. The cooperative sedation induced by dexmedetomidine is a unique and valuable state that allows patients to be aroused easily and interferes little with ventilation. Remifentanil is the prototype of short-acting drugs, providing fast onset and offset; its relatively high cost may be balanced by limiting the risk for long-lasting respiratory depression. Lorazepam seems to be finding more proponents, especially in long-term ICU sedation where the costs of the newer agents may be prohibitive.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists / pharmacology
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Critical Illness / psychology
  • Dexmedetomidine / pharmacokinetics
  • Dexmedetomidine / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives* / pharmacology
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives* / therapeutic use
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Lorazepam / pharmacology
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha / physiology
  • Remifentanil


  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Piperidines
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha
  • Dexmedetomidine
  • Lorazepam
  • Remifentanil