Sedation and analgesia are relevant aspects for the adequate treatment of patients in an intensive care unit. Recent drug developments and new strategies for ventilation provide improved sedation management allowing better adaptation to the clinical background and individual needs of the patient. This article provides an overview on the application of different substance groups. Focus is placed on newly developed pharmaceuticals such as dexmedetomidine. Another aspect is scoring system-related and EEG-based monitoring of depth of sedation. Modern concepts of analgesia and sedation for ICU patients have been developed based on the interaction of different parameters such as adaptive sedation and analgesia management (ASAM).
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