Intranasal Dexmedetomidine for Procedural Sedation in Children, a Suitable Alternative to Chloral Hydrate

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Sedation is often required for children undergoing diagnostic procedures. Chloral hydrate has been one of the sedative drugs most used in children over the last 3 decades, with supporting evidence for its efficacy and safety. Recently, chloral hydrate was banned in Italy and France, in consideration of evidence of its carcinogenicity and genotoxicity. Dexmedetomidine is a sedative with unique properties that has been increasingly used for procedural sedation in children. Several studies demonstrated its efficacy and safety for sedation in non-painful diagnostic procedures. Dexmedetomidine's impact on respiratory drive and airway patency and tone is much less when compared to the majority of other sedative agents. Administration via the intranasal route allows satisfactory procedural success rates. Studies that specifically compared intranasal dexmedetomidine and chloral hydrate for children undergoing non-painful procedures showed that dexmedetomidine was as effective as and safer than chloral hydrate. For these reasons, we suggest that intranasal dexmedetomidine could be a suitable alternative to chloral hydrate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-111
Number of pages5
JournalPaediatric Drugs
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Child
  • Chloral Hydrate/administration & dosage
  • Dexmedetomidine/administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives/administration & dosage


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