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Counterpoint: Should Benzodiazepines Be Avoided in Mechanically Ventilated Patients? NoBenzodiazepines in Mechanically Ventilated Patient

Yoanna Skrobik, MD
Author and Funding Information

From Soins Intensifs, Maisonneuve Rosemont Hospital, Universite de Montreal.

Correspondence to: Yoanna Skrobik, MD, Hopital Maisonneuve Rosemont 5415 boul. de l’Assomption, Montreal, QC, H1T 2M4, Canada; e-mail: yoanna.skrobik@umontreal.ca


Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The author has reported to CHEST the following conflicts of interest: Dr Skrobik is the lead physician in an investigator-initiated research project funded by Hospira; she receives no honoraria or income from that project as all funding serves to fund data collection.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2012;142(2):284-287. doi:10.1378/chest.12-1191
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The preoccupation that critically ill patients should be free from pain, agitation, and anxiety while in intensive care motivates physicians to prescribe analgesics and sedatives. Benzodiazepines are part of what is meant to be pharmacologic optimization of patient comfort. How much sedation should be used, and for how long, has recently become the focus of scientific debate. At the heart of this deliberation is the conviction by many caregivers that sedation mitigates how traumatic the patient perceives the ICU experience to be. This notion is slowly being contradicted by data from follow-up studies.1 In contrast, there is an emerging understanding that excessive sedation, with its short- or medium-term decreases in consciousness, is common and is associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and expenditure.2,3 It is important to differentiate outcomes associated with excess sedation, which is harmful, from benzodiazepine use, which is not.

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