A comparison of intranasal dexmedetomidine for sedation in children administered either by atomiser or by drops

Anaesthesia. 2016 May;71(5):522-8. doi: 10.1111/anae.13407. Epub 2016 Mar 3.


Intranasal dexmedetomidine has been used successfully for sedation in children. A mucosal atomisation device delivers an atomised solution to the nasal mucosa which facilitates rapid and effective delivery of medication to the systemic circulation. We compared intranasal delivery of dexmedetomidine in a dose of 3 μg.kg(-1) by either atomiser or drops from a syringe in children < 3 years old undergoing transthoracic echocardiography. Two hundred and seventy-nine children were randomly assigned to one or other group. One hundred and thirty-seven children received dexmedetomidine by atomiser and 142 by drops. The successful sedation rate was 82.5% (95% CI 75.3-87.9%) and 84.5% (95% CI 77.7-89.5%) for atomiser and drops, respectively (p = 0.569). Sedation tended to be less successful in older children (p = 0.028, OR 0.949, 95% CI 0.916-0.983). There were no significant complications. We conclude that both modes of dexmedetomidine administration are equally effective, although increasing age of the child was associated with a decreased likelihood of successful sedation.

Keywords: atomizer; drops; intranasal dexmedetomidine; paediatric; sedation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Aerosols
  • Child Behavior
  • Child, Preschool
  • Conscious Sedation / methods*
  • Conscious Sedation / psychology
  • Dexmedetomidine / administration & dosage*
  • Echocardiography / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Movement
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Pharmaceutical Solutions
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Aerosols
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Pharmaceutical Solutions
  • Dexmedetomidine