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Anxiolysis in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

Anxiolysis is also called minimal sedation, conscious sedation, or twilight sedation. Anxiolysis is anxiety relief that occurs after your child has been given medicine. This medicine helps your child stay calm and comfortable during certain tests or procedures. It may be used before tests, such as an MRI, or a procedure, such as setting a broken arm. Your child may get the medicine as a pill or liquid, or through his or her IV. If your child is having surgery, the medicine will be given along with local or regional anesthesia, or before general anesthesia. Your child may be drowsy, but he or she will be able to respond.


Call 911 if:

  • You cannot wake your child.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your child is wheezing or having trouble breathing.
  • Your child has a new rash that spreads over his or her body.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has nausea or is vomiting.
  • Your child has muscle spasms.
  • Your child is confused or sleepy for longer than 24 hours.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

After anxiolysis:

  • Watch your child on the way home. Watch for problems such as trouble breathing. It might help to ask another adult to drive so you can be in the back seat with your child. If your child uses a car seat, make sure he or she does not fall asleep with his or her head forward. He or she may not be able to breathe easily.
  • Stay with your for child for 24 hours. Your child may have trouble keeping his or her balance or doing daily activities. Watch for any side effects from the medicine and call for help if needed. Examples include trouble breathing, hives, or a rash over his or her body.
  • Do not let your older child drive for 24 hours. He or she may have trouble with coordination, reflexes, or thinking clearly.
  • Limit your child's activities for at least 12 hours. He or she may have slow reflexes or be clumsy. Do not let him or her shower or take a bath until he or she feels fully awake. This can help prevent him or her from slipping in the bathtub.
  • Ask when your child may return to school or daycare. You may need to wait until your child is fully alert and can do his or her normal activities safely.
  • Feed your child as directed. You may breastfeed your baby as usual. Limit the amount of liquid your older child drinks. Your child may vomit if he or she drinks too much liquid. Give him or her clear liquids to start. Broth and apple juice are examples of clear liquids. If your child does not vomit, he or she can start to eat solid foods.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

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