Sedation - Effects of disorders of abuse on therapeutic efficacy (SEDATE): A retrospective cohort study

Am J Emerg Med. 2021 Nov;49:294-299. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2021.06.023. Epub 2021 Jun 16.


Background: The impact of alcohol or opioid use disorders on medication dosing for procedural sedation in the emergency department (ED) is unclear, as most of the literature is from gastrointestinal endoscopy. Exploring how these patient factors affect sedative and analgesic medications may inform more nuanced sedation strategies in the emergency department.

Methods: This was a retrospective chart-review cohort study across five EDs from 2015 to 2020. Included were adult patients who underwent procedural sedation in the ED, categorized into three a priori groups: alcohol use disorder (AUD), opioid use disorder (OUD), and individuals with neither (non-SUD). Wilcoxon test was used to compare the time-averaged dose of agents between groups. Logistic regression was used to model multi-agent sedations. The propofol time-averaged dose was the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes included other agents, sedation duration, and switching to other agents.

Results: 2725 sedations were included in the analysis. 59 patients had a history of AUD, and 40 had a history of OUD. Time-averaged doses of medications did not differ significantly between AUD and non-SUD patients. Likewise, patients with OUD did not receive different doses of medications compared to non-SUD. The propofol doses for non-SUD, AUD, and OUD were 0.033 IQR 0.04; 0.042 IQR 0.05; and 0.058 IQR 0.04 mg/kg*min, respectively. Sedation duration was not different across groups. Having AUD or OUD is not associated with increased odds of requiring multiple sedative agents.

Conclusion: Although sedation in patients with AUD or OUD may be associated with significant case bias, these patient factors did not significantly alter outcomes compared to the general population. This study suggests there is no evidence to proactively adjust medication strategy in ED patients with AUD or OUD.

Keywords: Alcohol use disorder; Analgesia; Conscious sedation; Opioid use disorder; Orthopedic manipulation; Sedation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Data Mining
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage*
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives