Dexmedetomidine can be used for sedation and analgesia and has been approved for this use by the European Medicines Agency since 2017. It causes an arousable state of sedation, which is beneficial during neurosurgical procedures that require the patient to cooperate with neurological tests (i.e. tumor surgery or implantation of deep brain stimulators). During procedures where monitoring of somatosensory evoked potentials and/or motor evoked potentials is required, dexmedetomidine can be used as an adjunct to general anesthesia with GABAergic drugs to decrease the dose of the latter when these drugs impair the monitoring signals. The use of dexmedetomidine has also been associated with neuroprotective effects and a decreased incidence of delirium, but studies confirming these effects in the peri-operative (neuro-) surgical setting are lacking.
Although dexmedetomidine does not cause respiratory depression, its hemodynamic effects are complex and careful patient selection, choice of dose, and monitoring must be performed.
(c) 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).