Sedation and the Food and Drug Administration Warning: What a Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Hepatologist, and Pancreatologist Should Know

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2019 Jul;69(1):3-5. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000002346.


Pediatric gastroenterologists recommend and perform a range of procedures requiring sedation and anesthesia in young children. A recent warning from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that "repeated or lengthy use of general anesthetics and sedation drugs during surgeries or procedures in children younger than 3 years or in pregnant women during their third trimester may affect the development of children's brains." 1 As it relates to time, the FDA warning details risks of "procedures lasting longer than 3 hours or if multiple procedures are required." Pediatric gastroenterologists and related specialists should be aware of the warning and its relevance to their patients.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics, General / administration & dosage
  • Anesthetics, General / adverse effects*
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures
  • Gastroenterology*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / adverse effects*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pediatrics*
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Anesthetics, General
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives