Sedation occurs when drugs are given to help relax you during an exam or procedure. They can either be administered intravenously (IV) or orally.

Dependence and addiction to sedatives can manifest themselves in two distinct ways. Physical symptoms typically manifest themselves first and can be very uncomfortable.

Once sedation has taken effect, children often go back to sleeping for multiple hours after receiving treatment, so please arrange for someone to stay with them and keep an eye on them during that period of time.


Patients undergoing sedation or analgesia should receive a thorough physical exam, including vital signs, auscultation of their heart and lungs and evaluation of the airway. Furthermore, they should be asked about their medical history with special consideration given to any family histories of substance abuse or sedative use disorder – this information may have an effect on how their reaction to sedatives/analgesia will manifest itself; healthcare providers must know about such details prior to giving any sedatives.

Sedatives (also called hypnotics) are drugs used to reduce anxiety or excitement and produce feelings of relaxation and contentment. These sedatives interact with GABA neurotransmitter receptors in order to lower brain activity. There are different kinds of sedatives which vary in intensity of effects as well as duration; barbiturates and benzodiazepines are the two most widely-used options.

Medication for hospital or surgery center visits typically are administered intravenously via IV. Depending on the procedure, scan or test your child is scheduled to undergo, they will either receive short-acting or long-acting sedatives. Short-acting ones work faster but can cause nausea; long-acting ones typically take an hour to become effective without producing nausea.

Most children can come out of sedation on their own without assistance; however, some are anxious or distressed upon awakening and may need additional support to avoid injury or harming themselves if allowed to leave the sedation room without being properly assisted in time. Children left unaided could experience “emergence delirium”, which causes confusion and uncoordinated movements which lasts hours, potentially leading to self-injury or even death – thus it is crucial that any sedated children be medically monitored by someone from healthcare team until fully awake.

Everyone should be aware that sedatives pose the potential risk of addiction and dependency. Their effects may create feelings of euphoria and invincibility that some find rewarding; others may become dependent upon them for psychological stability, so may continue taking them despite adverse side effects or tolerance to them developing over time requiring ever increasing doses to achieve the same effects.


Medical team will prepare you for sedation by covering your eyes and ears with protective masks. If you plan to undergo a procedure using sedation, plan to have someone accompanying you home afterwards for at least an hour or two; they should not eat anything prior to 12 hours prior to your appointment (water is permitted though); smokers may consider quitting a few days beforehand in order to facilitate recovery more successfully.

Medication used for sedation may be administered orally, intravenously, or topically directly through the skin. The type of sedation prescribed depends on your needs, age, medical conditions and any procedures being done as well as how your respond to medications. Common forms include minimal, moderate and deep; with minimal typically being the mildest option best suited to children or people suffering from dental anxiety such as fears associated with visiting their dentist. It can also reduce anesthesia effects or surgery discomfort.

Moderate or conscious sedation falls between minimal and general anesthesia. At this level of sedation, patients can still follow instructions and respond to touch, though their breathing may need support. Deeper forms of sedation cannot easily be reversed; once reached it can only be interrupted through verbal commands or light taps on the skin with only limited reactions such as withdrawal of pain response from deeper states.

Sedation should only be administered by health care professionals trained to do so. Nurses or doctors typically administer it; in certain situations such as dental offices, dentists or other health professionals who aren’t anesthesiologists may also be trained in administering it.

Sedation is generally safe for almost everyone; however, some risks do exist. A personalized sedation-analgesia protocol must be designed for each patient, paying close attention to risks factors. The Task Force strongly agrees that preprocedure consultation with an appropriate medical specialist (e.g. cardiologist or pulmonologist) significantly lowers moderate sedation risks while significantly lowering deep sedation complications risk. Likewise, consultants also believe monitoring patient levels of consciousness during procedures with sedation/analgesia during procedures as well as regularly throughout recovery period helps lower risks associated with both moderate and deep sedations.


Sedation involves taking medications that create a sleep-like state and relax both physically and mentally, but do not mask pain from tests, scans or procedures. Your physician will decide whether sedation is needed.

Procedural sedation refers to the safe, controlled administration of medication to relieve anxiety and pain during diagnostic procedures such as computed tomography (CT) scans in children. Sedation helps facilitate these non-invasive processes faster while also maintaining appropriate resuscitation and ventilation capabilities.

Your health care provider will administer the sedation medicine through an IV cannula placed in one of your veins on either arm. Although you will still be conscious, but may not remember much of what happened during this procedure.

Your child will be monitored throughout their sedation session using a heart rate, breathing and oxygen level monitor. Prior to being administered sedation, a consent form will need to be signed. This document details both benefits and risks involved with receiving the drug.

Once the test, scan, or procedure has concluded, your child will return to their original sedation room for recovery, which typically lasts 30-60 minutes. A nurse will provide you with an estimated timeframe and obtain your cell phone number so they can keep you informed when your child is ready to leave the facility.

After receiving sedation, children may become very hungry and thirsty, needing water or clear fluids such as diluted fruit juice to replenish their fluid reserves. Heavy or fatty meals should be avoided to prevent nausea and vomiting from the treatment process. Your child must always be accompanied home from hospital by an adult; those experiencing headaches or feeling dizzy on test, scan or procedure day should not drive themselves home afterwards.


Sedatives used for sedation work by inhibiting (depressing) brain and spinal cord activity, decreasing sensations such as pain and touch, as well as slowing your breathing and lowering blood pressure. They’re usually administered through an IV (an intravenous line inserted directly into vein), with different medications offering minimal or general anesthesia depending on your medical history and procedure. Your physician will select an appropriate sedative depending on these factors and what procedure is needed.

Benzodiazepines are among the most frequently prescribed sedatives. There were nearly 120 million prescriptions written for them in 2017 alone in the US alone. People taking large quantities over extended periods may become psychologically dependent on them; such prescriptions are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. If someone becomes psychologically addicted, cravings or compulsive use may occur along with withdrawal symptoms if abruptly stopping taking or decreasing dosage beyond what their physician prescribed could occur.

Once your test, scan or procedure is over, you will be taken back to the recovery room in which you received sedation. A nurse will remain with you while checking blood pressure and heart rate before helping your breathing return to normal. While you should still be able to respond to questions and speak, but may feel drowsy depending on the type of sedation medication given – they will receive IV fluids during this time too.

Once your child is ready to leave, the nurse will provide instructions regarding care at home as well as a number you can contact if there are any concerns once they return home.

If your child is feeling sick or vomiting, contacting a hospital may help them feel better quickly. After being sedated, it’s best to avoid eating heavy or fatty meals for several hours after. Instead, clear liquids like diluted fruit juice or ice pops should help hydrate them effectively; any prescribed medicines must also be taken as directed by their hospital doctor.

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