Use of sedative and analgesic drugs in the first week of ICU stay. A pharmaco-epidemiological perspective.

G. Bertolini, R. Melotti, P. Romano, A. Cattaneo, G. Mura, R. Ruggiata, A. Ravizza, L. Brazzi, G. Iapichino

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AIM: To assess the current practice of pharmacological sedation and analgesia in patients admitted in Italian intensive care units. METHODS: DESIGN: observational, prospective, cohort study, involving all patients admitted during a one-month period to participating Centers in 1994. All patients were followed-up for vital status until discharge and evaluated for pharmacological sedation and analgesia for the first week of ICU stay. SETTING: 128 Italian, adult, general, intensive care units, approximately representing 1/3 of all Italian Units. Patients: 2932 patients were analyzed. They generated 22612 patient-days of intensive care unit stay, 11221 of which were evaluated. RESULTS: A total of 31 different sedative drugs were used in 1751 patients. On 64% of sedated days only one drug was utilized, whereas two or more drugs were administered in the remaining days. Propofol was the most widely prescribed drug, followed by fentanyl and diazepam, while morphine accounted for 14.8% of sedated days. The analysis of the pattern of sedation over time revealed a trend to linearly reduce the use of this practice. CONCLUSIONS: Our results depict a relatively low prevalence of sedation in Italy, with the use of large number of different agents. We also observed a larger than expected use of some drugs, like propofol and fentanyl, that could be due to the unavailability of new sedative and analgesic drugs in Italy on 1994. In conclusion, Italian intensivists seem to be very conservative about the practice of pharmacological sedation in critically ill patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalMinerva Anestesiologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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