Tag Archive for: Chemical Sedation

Chemical Sedation of the Agitated Patient

16 Feb
February 16, 2017

Background: Acutely agitated and aggressive patients have become an unfortunate commonality in emergency departments throughout the world.  They are often the most difficult patient encounters during a shift. Initially, when these patients’ present, medical providers are trying to figure out the underlying etiology including organic, psychiatric, or drug related illness.  Coaxing agitated patients out of an aggressive and often altered state with verbal and environmental modification is often fruitless.  When verbal de-escalation does not work, the next options are physical and/or chemical sedation.
Finding an ideal combination of medications for chemical sedation is critically important and the most ideal medication(s) need to work quickly and have a good safety profile. Over the last few years there is increasing literature evaluating different agents of chemical sedation, looking mainly at antipyschotic agents and benzodiazepines, in isolation and combination.

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