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Online ISSN 1827-1596
McGrane S. 1, Pandharipande P. P. 2
1 Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, USA;
2 Anesthesia Service, VA TN Valley Health Care System, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, USA
Analgesics and sedatives are commonly prescribed in the ICU environment for patient comfort, however, recent studies have shown that these medications can themselves lead to adverse patient outcomes. Interventions that facilitate a total dose reduction in analgesic and sedative medications e.g. the use of nurse controlled protocol guided sedation, the combination of spontaneous awakening and breathing trials, and the use of short acting medications, are associated with improved outcomes such as decreased time of mechanical ventilation and ICU length of stay. This purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the pharmacology of commonly prescribed analgesics and sedatives, and to discuss the evidence regarding best prescribing practices of these medications, to facilitate early liberation from mechanical ventilation and to promote animation in critically ill patients.