α-2 Adrenergic receptors are located with opioid receptors. Thus, the two drug classes used together are highly synergistic for sedation and analgesia. α-2 agonists have a versatile dosing profile. That allows low and even micro-doses in combination with opioids to be clinically useful and minimizes the cardiovascular effects. Clinicians should be mindful that cardiovascular side effects occur even with very low doses of α-2 adrenergic agonists, that lower doses will have a shorter duration of effect, and that analgesic effects have a shorter duration than the sedative effects.
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