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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 5-13

Dexmedetomidine: Expanding role in anesthesia

Department of Anaesthesia, BVU Medical College and Hospital, Sangli, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Jyotsna S Paranjpe
'Dhanvantari' 36, Ekata Colony, Market Yard, Sangli - 416 416, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0975-2870.108625

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The potential uses of dexmedetomidine (DEX), a highly selective α2 - adrenoceptor agonist are very diverse. DEX appears to mimic many of the actions of mythical 'ideal' sedative/analgesic agent. Although not orally active, DEX shows good bioavailability when administered via various other routes like intranasal, buccal, IM than intra-venous. DEX has similar pharmacokinetics in all age groups. Its side effects are predictable and easily treatable, hence it has found place as a part of fast-tracking anesthesia regimens in children. DEX is the sedative of choice for peri-operative use in high risk patients, since it is cardioprotective, neuroprotective and renoprotective. Premedication with DEX obtunds the autonomic pressor responses due to laryngoscopy and endotracheal intubation when used as an adjuvant to general anesthesia. DEX in high doses offers another approach to managing morbidly obese patients and patients with a compromised airway; without causing any cardio-respiratory depression. It is near ideal hypotensive agent used for controlled hypotension. Its value as a primary sedative and analgesic is becoming more accepted and evident in critically ill patients; in adult and paediatric intensive care units. Besides use in locoregional anesthesia, it is also used as an opioid substitute, for treatment of substance withdrawal, as an anti-shivering agent, for treatment of delirium and as an end of life medication. Availability of an antidote (Atipamezole) with similar elimination half life is taking the drug into new frontiers. However, use of DEX is contraindicated in patients with hepatic failure, hypovolemic shock, advanced heart block or ventricular dysfunction.

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