^-Adrenoceptor agonists have received attention for their ability to produce sedation and analgesia. Their sedative properties may be related to action on a2-re-ceptors in the locus ceruleus, and analgesia likely occurs via a2-receptors in the spinal cord and locus ceruleus. Agents used when sedation is desirable include oral clonidine (Catapres) and IV dexmedetomidine (Prece-dex), which has recently been approved in the United States for sedation in intensive care units. A solution of clonidine (Duraclon) is also available to provide or as a supplement for epidural analgesia. Hypnosis sufficient for surgical anesthesia is not adequate when the a2-adrenoceptor agonists are used alone, and cardiovascular side effects, including bradycardia and hypotension, limit the doses that can be used. As adjunctive drugs they significantly reduce the dose requirement for opi-oids and anesthetics during surgery.
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