Pill Identifier App

Moderate Sedation


  • Moderate sedation can be used during procedures or surgeries to help you feel relaxed and calm. Moderate sedation used to be called conscious sedation. With moderate sedation, you stay awake during the procedure or surgery, and your breathing and heart rate do not change. You are able to follow commands and answer questions during the procedure. Procedural sedation is when medicine is given to make you better able to cope with procedures that may be uncomfortable.

  • Moderate sedation can be used for surgeries such as collecting tissue or fluid samples, or repairing a broken bone. It can be used for cleaning and repairing wounds, or for certain kinds of brain surgery. It can be used for procedures such as a bronchoscopy, colonoscopy, or thoracoscopy. It may also be used for certain heart treatments or dental work. Having moderate sedation will help decrease your anxiety (worry) about your procedure. It will also keep you comfortable and calm while having your procedure.


Take your medicine as directed.

Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Medicines given for moderate sedation:

Medicines that are given for moderate sedation may be given as a pill, shot, or through your anus. Medicine may also be breathed into your lungs, or given through an intravenous (IV) tube. An IV is a tube that is placed in your vein. You may be given one or more of the following medicines:

  • Anesthesia: This is medicine that will help you feel more comfortable during surgery.

  • Antianxiety medicine: This medicine may be given to decrease anxiety and help you feel calm and relaxed.

  • Narcotics: This group of medicines may be given for pain during or after a procedure.

  • Sedative: This medicine is given to help you stay calm and relaxed.

Risks of moderate sedation:

  • The medicine used for moderate sedation may cause you to get a headache or an upset stomach. The medicine might make forget things that have happened recently. The medicine may make your skin itchy, your eyes water, or they may increase your saliva (spit). Having too little medicine will make you uneasy and feel pain during the procedure. You may also feel like moving when you need to hold still. If the medicine does not wear off in a certain time, you may be given medicine to help you become more alert.

  • If you get more medicine than you need, you may go into a deeper level of sedation. With deep sedation, you may need help breathing, and your blood pressure may decrease. Ask caregivers for more information about deep sedation. If you have heart or lung disease, or you have a head injury, you are at a higher risk having problems. These problems can happen during or after you get moderate sedation. Older adults, people who use illegal drugs, or those who drink too much alcohol too often are at a greater risk of having problems. Alcohol is found in adult drinks such as beer, wine and whiskey. Ask your caregiver if you have questions or concerns about having moderate sedation.

What to do when you go home after having moderate sedation:

  • Do not drive a car or use heavy equipment. An adult should drive you home and stay with you after you have had moderate sedation.

  • Follow your caregiver's advice about making changes to your diet, activity, or medicine. Avoid hard exercise right after having moderate sedation. Do not drink alcohol, such as beer and wine. Do not make important decisions for 24 hours (one day) after having moderate sedation.

  • Take antinausea medicine as ordered. This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and help stop you from throwing up. Pain medicine may upset your stomach and make you feel like vomiting. To help prevent this, pain medicine and anti-nausea medicine are often given at the same time.

  • Use ice chips. You may suck or chew small pieces of ice to if you feel like you need to cough.

  • Use lip balm. Put lip balm on your lips to keep them moist, and help prevent them from chapping.

For more information:

Contact any of the following:

  • American Pain Society
    4700 W. Lake Avenue
    Glenview , IL 60025
    Phone: 1- 847 - 375-4715
    Web Address: http://www.ampainsoc.org
  • American Society of Anesthesiologists
    520 N. Northwest Highway
    Park Ridge , IL 600682573
    Phone: 1- 847 - 8255586
    Web Address: http://www.asahq.org


  • You have a fever.

  • You have a cough or headache.

  • You have an upset stomach or feel like throwing up.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition, medicine, or care.


  • You have sudden trouble breathing.

  • You have a very bad headache.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.