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Procedural Sedation

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.

Procedural sedation is medicine used during procedures to help you feel relaxed and calm. You will remember little to none of the procedure. After sedation you may feel tired, weak, or unsteady on your feet. You may also have trouble concentrating or short-term memory loss. These symptoms should go away in 24 hours or less.


Call 911 or have someone else call for any of the following:

  • You have sudden trouble breathing.
  • You cannot be woken.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have a severe headache or dizziness.
  • Your heart is beating faster than usual.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or you have a rash.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting for more than 8 hours after the procedure.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Have someone stay with you for 24 hours. This person can drive you to errands and help you do things around the house. This person can also watch for problems.
  • Rest and do quiet activities for 24 hours. Do not exercise, ride a bike, or play sports. Stand up slowly to prevent dizziness and falls. Take short walks around the house with another person. Slowly return to your usual activities the next day.
  • Do not drive or use dangerous machines or tools for 24 hours. You may injure yourself or others. Examples include a lawnmower, saw, or drill. Do not return to work for 24 hours if you use dangerous machines or tools for work.
  • Do not make important decisions for 24 hours. For example, do not sign important papers or invest money.
  • Drink liquids as directed. Liquids help flush the sedation medicine out of your body. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Eat small, frequent meals to prevent nausea and vomiting. Start with clear liquids such as juice or broth. If you do not vomit after clear liquids, you can eat your usual foods.
  • Do not drink alcohol or take medicines that make you drowsy. This includes medicines that help you sleep and anxiety medicines. Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe for you to take pain medicine.

Follow up with your 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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.