Key messages

• The accurate assessment of the depth of sedation is crucial in any intensive care patient.

• Benzodiazepines are generally among the safest central nervous system active medications.

• Normally, because of its rapid elimination, full recovery to awareness is reached within minutes to a few hours after discontinuation of propofol.

• Indications for haloperidol and other butyrophenone neuroleptics are delirium and withdrawal syndromes.

• Clonidine is a centrally acting imidazoline and a 2-agonist. It can be used as an alternative to benzodiazepines in the treatment of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms or delirium, which are accompanied by profound activation of the sympathetic nervous system.

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