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It can occur without addiction, but it often accompanies addiction.
If you become dependent on a drug, you may need a higher dose to achieve the desired effect (tolerance), or there may be physical or psychological effects when the drug is stopped (withdrawal).
In general, these medications are usually given intravenously when used for procedures in the emergency department (ED), with some exceptions for children (for more information, see Pediatrics, Sedation).
Compared with other modes of administration, intravenous medications generally have a quick onset, have a predictable drug absorption, and are titratable.
Sedatives typically have more than one of these actions, although one may predominate.
The ideal sedative would exhibit all of the above qualities; most do not.
In addition, this class of drugs produces amnesia and has anticonvulsant actions. Their most significant adverse effect is respiratory depression and subsequent hypoxemia.
The benzodiazepines act by stimulating specific benzodiazepine receptors in the CNS.
If you're using any sedative medication regularly, you shouldn't stop taking it abruptly, as this can cause severe withdrawal symptoms such as seizures.
In order to stop taking the drug, you may need to have your dose reduced over time (tapered) with the help of a healthcare provider.
In nonintubated patients, the desired effect is found by titration until the desired effect is achieved.
Caution must be used in children; they may have a paradoxical disinhibition and increased agitation at low doses.
This is accomplished along a continuum of sedation levels: Prior to the administration of medications, clinicians must know the level of sedation required for a given procedure and the appropriate dose of the pharmacologic agent or agents chosen.