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Dexmedetomidine Side Effects

In Summary

Commonly reported side effects of dexmedetomidine include: bradycardia, hypotension, hypertension, nausea, agitation, and tachycardia. Other side effects include: vomiting, and xerostomia. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to dexmedetomidine: parenteral injection concentrate

Side effects include:

Hypotension, hypertension, nausea, bradycardia, fever, vomiting, hypoxia, tachycardia, anemia.

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to dexmedetomidine: intravenous solution


Cardiovascular side effects include hypotension (up to 54%), hypertension (up to 16%), bradycardia (up to 14%), atrial fibrillation (7%) and tachycardia (up to 5%).[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects include nausea (up to 11%), dry mouth (3%), and vomiting.[Ref]


Respiratory side effects have included respiratory depression (37%) hypoxia (up to 6%), pleural effusion (3%), bradypnea (2%), and pulmonary edema (2%). Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and respiratory failure have been associated with infusions greater than 24 hours in duration.[Ref]


Hematologic side effects include anemia (3%), leukocytosis (2%) and anemia.[Ref]


General side effects include pain (3%), thirst (2%), and fever.[Ref]


Genitourinary side effects include oliguria (2%).[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects including a case of severe rash have been reported.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included agitation associated with infusions greater than 24 hours in duration.


1. "Product Information. Precedex (dexmedetomidine)" Abbott Pharmaceutical, Abbott Park, IL.

2. Ludwig K, Sorrell M, Liu P "Severe rash associated with dexmedetomidine use during mechanical ventilation." Pharmacotherapy 29 (2009): 479-81

Not all side effects for dexmedetomidine may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

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