Pharmacodynamic considerations for moderate and deep sedation

Anesth Prog. 2012 Spring;59(1):28-42. doi: 10.2344/0003-3006-59.1.28.


Moderate and deep sedation can be provided using various classes of drugs, each having unique mechanisms of action. While drugs within a given classification share similar mechanisms and effects, certain classes demonstrate superior efficacy but added concern regarding safety. This continuing education article will highlight essential principles of pharmacodynamics and apply these to drugs commonly used to produce moderate and deep sedation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / pharmacology
  • Anesthesia, General / classification
  • Benzodiazepines / pharmacology
  • Conscious Sedation / classification
  • Conscious Sedation / methods*
  • Deep Sedation / classification
  • Deep Sedation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / classification
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / pharmacology*
  • Nitrous Oxide / pharmacology


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Nitrous Oxide