Dexmedetomidine Versus Pentobarbital for Pediatric Procedural Sedation


The investigators believe dexmedetomidine will provide superior sedation with reduced side effects and reduced time to discharge compared with pentobarbital. The investigators have developed sedation protocols with pentobarbital and dexmedetomidine in our ambulatory procedure center. These protocols are both routinely used for sedation in our unit. The investigators propose to study these two protocols in children ages 6 months to 6 years presenting to the ambulatory procedure center for non-painful procedural sedation. The investigators will compare failure of sedation, side effect profile, recovery and discharge times between the two pharmacologic protocols.

Full Title of Study: “Dexmedetomidine Versus Pentobarbital Sedation Protocol for Non-painful Procedural Sedation in Pediatrics”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Other
    • Masking: Single (Participant)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: June 2010


  • Drug: dexmedetomidine sedation protocol
    • Arm 1 will undergo sedation with dexmedetomidine, using 2 mcg/kg load IV over 10 minutes followed by an IV infusion of 1 mcg/kg/hr. May use versed 0.5 mg/kg IV x 1 for incomplete sedation, followed by increase of dexmedetomidine infusion to 1.5 mcg/kg/hr. Infusion will run throughout non-painful procedure (most likely MRI).
  • Drug: pentobarbital sedation protocol
    • Pentobarbital Sedation Protocol IV: 2.5 mg/kg, followed by 1.25 mg/kg as needed x2. Maintenance: May give additional 1.25 mg/kg IV x 2 if needed. Max total dose of 200 mg pentobarbital throughout sedation. May give midazolam 0.05 mg/kg IV x 1 PRN agitation for rescue sedation.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Active Comparator: 1
    • Dexmedetomidine sedation protocol
  • Active Comparator: 2
    • Pentobarbital sedation protocol

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • failure of sedation
    • Time Frame: day of sedation

Secondary Measures

  • side effect profile
    • Time Frame: 48 hours
  • post-sedation recovery and discharge time
    • Time Frame: day of sedation

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Requiring sedation for non-painful procedures – Normal airway per exam Exclusion Criteria:

  • Congenital syndromes with known difficult airways – Known difficult airway during past anesthesia or sedation experience – Parent/guardian refusal of participation

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 6 Months

Maximum Age: 6 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Washington University School of Medicine
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor


Mason KP, Zgleszewski SE, Prescilla R, Fontaine PJ, Zurakowski D. Hemodynamic effects of dexmedetomidine sedation for CT imaging studies. Paediatr Anaesth. 2008 May;18(5):393-402. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9592.2008.02451.x. Epub 2008 Mar 18.

Mukhtar AM, Obayah EM, Hassona AM. Preliminary experience with dexmedetomidine in pediatric anesthesia. Anesth Analg. 2006 Jul;103(1):250.

Koroglu A, Teksan H, Sagir O, Yucel A, Toprak HI, Ersoy OM. A comparison of the sedative, hemodynamic, and respiratory effects of dexmedetomidine and propofol in children undergoing magnetic resonance imaging. Anesth Analg. 2006 Jul;103(1):63-7, table of contents.

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