Martin S. Angst

Publication Details

  • Comparative analgesic and mental effects of increasing plasma concentrations of dexmedetomidine and alfentanil in humans ANESTHESIOLOGY Angst, M. S., Ramaswamy, B., Davies, M. F., Maze, M. 2004; 101 (3): 744-752


    In animals, systemic and intrathecal administration of the alpha2 -adrenergic receptor agonist dexmedetomidine results in robust antinociceptive effects in models of heat pain. In humans, systemically administered dexmedetomidine is approved for sedating patients in the intensive care unit. However, whether systemic administration of dexmedetomidine in humans produces significant analgesia at doses causing sedation but not unconsciousness remains controversial.This study in human volunteers used a placebo-controlled, double-blind, and randomized design to examine whether dexmedetomidine at doses causing mild to severe sedation produces analgesia in experimental models of heat and electrical pain. Results were compared to the effects of the mu-opioid receptor agonist alfentanil. A computer-controlled infusion provided four median step-up plasma concentrations of dexmedetomidine (0.09, 0.24, 0.54, and 1.23 ng/ml) and alfentanil (13.4, 33.8, 67.8, and 126.1 ng/ml).Sedative and cognitive effects of dexmedetomidine were dose-dependent, resulting in a median sedation score of 95 of 100 and slowing of cognitive speed (reaction time, trail-making test) by a factor of about two at the highest plasma concentration. Dexmedetomidine did not attenuate heat or electrical pain. Alfentanil caused severe sedation (median sedation score 88 of 100) and slowed cognitive speed by a factor of approximately 1.4 at the highest plasma concentration. Alfentanil attenuated heat and electrical pain dose dependently.This study documents that systemic dexmedetomidine lacks analgesic efficacy for heat and electrical pain at doses causing mild to severe sedation. These results provide further evidence suggesting that systemic administration of dexmedetomidine lacks broad analgesic activity in models of acute pain at doses not rendering humans unconscious.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000223605100022

    View details for PubMedID 15329600

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