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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 59 (2017) 9, 554 - 558

Short report

The use of dexmedetomidine in extreme agitation

E. Roosens, J.P. Mulier, G. Heylens, J. De Fruyt

background In clinical practice antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and/or antihistamines are used to calm agitated patients. If agitation persists and patients have contraindications for these substances, then anesthetics, such as propofol, can also be used as well, to serve as a sedative. Our attention was drawn to a particular case in which dexmedetomidine was used as a sedative.
aim To study the literature on the use of α2-agonists, such as dexmedetomidine, in the treatment of extreme agitation.
method We reviewed the relevant scientific literature.
results α2-agonists, such as dexmedetomidine, are new anesthetic agents that have analgetic and sympatholytic effects without suppressing respiration. These agents are used frequently in intensive care because their sedative effect are short-lived and do not cause amnesia, sleep deprivation or cognitive disturbance. Excited delirium syndrome (eds) is a type of extreme agitation for which dexmedetomidine can be used.
conclusion There may well be a place for dexmedetomidine in the treatment of extreme agitation when standard treatments have failed. Further research is needed in order to ascertain whether dexmedetomidine should play a role in such treatment.

keywords agitation, dexmedetomidine, excited delirium