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Dexmedetomidine Side Effects

In Summary

Commonly reported side effects of dexmedetomidine include: bradycardia, hypotension, agitation, hypertension, nausea, 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


Very common (10% or more): Hypotension (56%), bradycardia (42%), systolic hypertension (28%), hypotension requiring intervention (28%), tachycardia (25%), hypertension requiring intervention (19%), hypertension (16%), diastolic hypertension (12%), tachycardia requiring intervention (10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Atrial fibrillation, sinus tachycardia, myocardial ischemia or infarction, bradycardia requiring intervention
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Ventricular tachycardia, atrioventricular block first degree, decreased cardiac output
Frequency not reported: Sinus arrest
Postmarketing reports: Arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, cardiac disorder, extrasystoles, supraventricular tachycardia, ventricular arrhythmia, electrocardiogram T wave inversion, prolonged QT, blood pressure fluctuation, heart block[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Respiratory depression (37%)
Common (1% to 10%): Atelectasis, hypoxia, pulmonary edema, pleural effusion, respiratory failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, bradypnea, pneumonia, pharyngolaryngeal pain
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Wheezing, dyspnea, apnea
Frequency not reported: Decreased respiratory rate
Postmarketing reports: Bronchospasm, hypercapnia, hypoventilation, pulmonary congestion, respiratory acidosis[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (11%)
Common (1% to 10%): Dry mouth, vomiting, constipation, abdominal distension, abdominal pain, diarrhea[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Decubitus ulcer
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Rash
Postmarketing reports: Hyperhidrosis[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Anemia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Thrombocytopenia[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hypovolemia, hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, hypocalcemia, acidosis, hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, hypernatremia, hypophosphatemia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Metabolic acidosis, hypoalbuminemia, electrolyte imbalance
Postmarketing reports: Hyperkalemia, acidosis[Ref]

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Headache
Postmarketing reports: Convulsion, dizziness, neuralgia, neuritis, speech disorder[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Pyrexia, hyperthermia, chills, post-procedural hemorrhage, withdrawal event/syndrome, rigors, hyperpyrexia, pain, thirst, generalized edema, peripheral edema, sepsis, septic shock
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Ineffective drug
Frequency not reported: Tolerance, tachyphylaxis
Postmarketing reports: Light anesthesia[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Agitation, anxiety
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hallucination
Postmarketing reports: Confusional state, delirium, illusion[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Acute renal failure, decreased urine output, oliguria
Postmarketing reports: Increased blood urea, polyuria[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Abnormal hepatic function, hyperbilirubinemia, increased ALT, increased AST, increased blood alkaline phosphatase, increased gamma-glutamyl transferase[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Reduced lacrimation
Postmarketing reports: Photopsia, abnormal vision, visual impairment[Ref]


1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

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

Some side effects of dexmedetomidine may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

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