Efficacy of sedation of children with chloral hydrate

South Med J. 1990 Sep;83(9):1040-3. doi: 10.1097/00007611-199009000-00015.


Chloral hydrate has been used extensively to sedate children, but at Brooke Army Medical Center, other drug combinations were becoming increasingly popular due to a perception that chloral hydrate had a high rate of failure, especially with younger or neurologically impaired children. Therefore, 50 children were given the drug before a diagnostic study, and patient data and a sedation score were recorded on a worksheet. Of 50 children, 43 (86%) were "successfully sedated" on the first attempt with no side effects. Children with neurologic disorders had a much greater (27% vs 4%) failure rate than "normal" children. The sedation rate did not significantly differ by age, sex, or initial drug dosage. The study suggest that chloral hydrate is a safe and effective oral sedative but that children with neurologic disorders may need alternative drugs for sedation.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chloral Hydrate / administration & dosage*
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Premedication*


  • Chloral Hydrate