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Anesthesia

Authorization to administer Versed and Fentan

10/08/2007

Question:

Can anyone outside of an anesthesiologist administer Versed or Fantan?

Answer:

Versed (midazolam) and fentanyl are two drugs commonly used for intravenous sedation. In the United States, the administration of these drugs is not limited to anesthesiologists so they are given by, for example, dentists, nurses assisting with minor procedures, and some doctors providing sedation for procedures they themselves are doing.

Every institution has its own policies but a rule of thumb is that the practitioner needs to be able to "rescue" the patient if the sedation goes too "deep". In other words the practitioner needs to have skills in resuscitation and recovery of heart and breathing function. Other factors that come in useful include the judgment needed to exclude unsuitable patients from sedation techniques, knowing how to monitor vital functions, and when to call for help when appropriate.

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Response by:

Gareth S Kantor, MD Gareth S Kantor, MD
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University