Generic Name: dexmedetomidine (DEX med e TOE mi deen)
Brand Name: Precedex
What is Precedex (dexmedetomidine)?
Dexmedetomidine is a sedative that is used to sedate a patient who is under intensive medical care and needs a mechanical ventilator (breathing machine).
Before a ventilator is used, a breathing tube must be inserted through the mouth and into the patient's airway, a procedure called intubation. The tube is then attached to the ventilator, which pumps air slowly into the lungs to control the patient's breathing. Sedation with dexmedetomidine can help keep the patient relaxed and comfortable while the ventilator and tube are in place.
Dexmedetomidine is also used during anesthesia to get a patient ready for a surgery or other medical procedure.
Dexmedetomidine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about Precedex (dexmedetomidine)?
Before dexmedetomidine is given, the doctor should know about all the patient's medical conditions or allergies, and all other medicines the patient is using. Also make sure the doctor knows if the patient is pregnant or breast-feeding.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving Precedex (dexmedetomidine)?
You should not be treated with dexmedetomidine if you are allergic to it.
To make sure dexmedetomidine is safe to give, tell the doctor if the patient has:
high blood pressure;
a serious heart condition such as severe heart block, or "AV block";
a heart rhythm disorder; or
low blood pressure, or if the patient may be dehydrated.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell the doctor if the patient is pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
The patient should not breast-feed within 10 hours after receiving dexmedetomidine. If a breast pump is used during this time, any milk collected should be thrown out and not fed to a baby.
How is Precedex (dexmedetomidine)given?
Dexmedetomidine is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give this injection.
Dexmedetomidine is given using a continuous infusion device that slowly injects the medicine into the body. This type of infusion keeps the patient sedated around the clock.
The patient's breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and other vital signs will be watched closely while dexmedetomidine is given.
When dexmedetomidine is discontinued after long-term use over several days, the patient may have withdrawal symptoms. The most common withdrawal symptoms are nausea, vomiting, and agitation. The patient may also have rapid heartbeats and increased blood pressure.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Because you will receive dexmedetomidine in a clinical setting, you are not likely to miss a dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Since this medicine is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.
In the event of an overdose, medical care providers in an intensive care setting are able to quickly treat any symptoms that may occur.
What should I avoid after receiving Precedex (dexmedetomidine)?
Follow the doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.
Precedex (dexmedetomidine) side effects
Get emergency medical help if the patient has signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Tell the medical caregivers right away if the person receiving dexmedetomidine has:
agitation, signs of waking up, or any change in level of consciousness;
weak or shallow breathing, cough;
feeling light-headed or short of breath;
muscle weakness; or
pale or blue-colored skin.
Certain side effects may occur during the first 48 hours after the patient stops receiving dexmedetomidine. Call the doctor right away if the patient has any of the following side effects:
headache, confusion, anxiety, feeling nervous or agitated;
weakness, feeling light-headed or short of breath;
stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation;
blurred vision, pounding in the neck or ears;
severe chest pain, rapid or irregular heartbeats; or
an unusual craving for salt.
Common side effects may include:
slow or irregular heartbeats;
dry mouth, nausea;
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Precedex (dexmedetomidine)?
Dexmedetomidine can interact with other drugs that can cause drowsiness or slowed breathing, leading to dangerous side effects or death. Ask a doctor before giving the patient a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, prescription cough medicine, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Other drugs may interact with dexmedetomidine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of the patient's health care providers about all medicines in use now and any medicine the patient starts or stops using.
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about dexmedetomidine.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.01.
Date modified: January 10, 2017
Last reviewed: December 12, 2016