ANCHOR LEAD: WHICH SEDATIVES ARE USEFUL IN THE ICU? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
In light of Johns Hopkins research illustrating the dangers of benzodiazepine sedation in the ICU, including the risk of depression months after discharge and muscle weakness, should these medications be used at all in this setting? Joseph Bienvenu, one of the authors on the study assessing depression, says there is a practical aspect.
BIENVENU: I would guess that most ICU physicians would agree that some form of sedation appears necessary for maybe all patients in order that they don’t fight the breathing tube. They need the tube in order to stay alive very often and if they’re fighting against the machine they’re actually using up the oxygen that’s in their bodies so there’s a definite rationale for using some sedation. :25
Bienvenu says it’s certainly appropriate for physicians to use the lowest dose possible of these medications and to wean the patient as soon as possible from both respirator and benzodiazapines. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.