What is the role of barbiturates in pediatric sedation?

Updated: May 08, 2018
  • Author: Wan-Tsu Wendy Chang, MD; Chief Editor: Ted Rosenkrantz, MD  more...
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Barbiturates elicit action at GABA receptors and hyperpolarize the nerve cell membrane via chlorine channels. They produce sedation and amnesia and reduce anxiety, but they have no analgesic effects. These medications produce a reproducible dose-response effect, based on weight. Additionally, they have neuroprotective properties (derived from their ability to lower intracranial pressure [ICP]) and anticonvulsant properties. Disadvantages include hypotension, hypoventilation, and apnea.

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