Dexmedetomidine Hydrochloride: Package Insert and Label Information (Page 2 of 4)

6.2 Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of dexmedetomidine. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure. Hypotension and bradycardia were the most common adverse reactions associated with the use of dexmedetomidine during post-approval use of the drug.

Table 7: Adverse Reactions Experienced During Post-Approval Use of Dexmedetomidine
System Organ Class Preferred Term
Blood and Lymphatic System Disorders Anemia
Cardiac Disorders Arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, atrioventricular block, bradycardia, cardiac arrest, cardiac disorder, extrasystoles, myocardial infarction, supraventricular tachycardia, tachycardia, ventricular arrhythmia, ventricular tachycardia
Eye Disorders Photopsia, visual impairment
Gastrointestinal Disorders Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
General Disorders and Administration Site Conditions Chills, hyperpyrexia, pain, pyrexia, thirst
Hepatobiliary Disorders Hepatic function abnormal, hyperbilirubinemia
Investigations Alanine aminotransferase increased, aspartate aminotransferase increased, blood alkaline phosphatase increased, blood urea increased, electrocardiogram T wave inversion, gammaglutamyltransferase increased, electrocardiogram QT prolonged
Metabolism and Nutrition Disorders Acidosis, hyperkalemia, hypoglycemia, hypovolemia, hypernatremia
Nervous System Disorders Convulsion, dizziness, headache, neuralgia, neuritis, speech disorder
Psychiatric Disorders Agitation, confusional state, delirium, hallucination, illusion
Renal and Urinary Disorders Oliguria, polyuria
Respiratory, Thoracic and Mediastinal Disorders Apnea, bronchospasm, dyspnea, hypercapnia, hypoventilation, hypoxia, pulmonary congestion, respiratory acidosis
Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue Disorders Hyperhidrosis, pruritus, rash, urticaria
Surgical and Medical Procedures Light anesthesia
Vascular Disorders Blood pressure fluctuation, hemorrhage, hypertension, hypotension


7.1 Anesthetics, Sedatives, Hypnotics, Opioids

Co-administration of dexmedetomidine with anesthetics, sedatives, hypnotics, and opioids is likely to lead to an enhancement of effects. Specific studies have confirmed these effects with sevoflurane, isoflurane, propofol, alfentanil, and midazolam. No pharmacokinetic interactions between dexmedetomidine and isoflurane, propofol, alfentanil and midazolam have been demonstrated. However, due to possible pharmacodynamic interactions, when co-administered with dexmedetomidine, a reduction in dosage of dexmedetomidine or the concomitant anesthetic, sedative, hypnotic or opioid may be required.

7.2 Neuromuscular Blockers

In one study of 10 healthy adult volunteers, administration of dexmedetomidine for 45 minutes at a plasma concentration of one ng/mL resulted in no clinically meaningful increases in the magnitude of neuromuscular blockade associated with rocuronium administration.


8.1 Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category C
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of dexmedetomidine use in pregnant women. In an in vitro human placenta study, placental transfer of dexmedetomidine occurred. In a study in the pregnant rat, placental transfer of dexmedetomidine was observed when radiolabeled dexmedetomidine was administered subcutaneously. Thus, fetal exposure should be expected in humans, and dexmedetomidine should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefits justify the potential risk to the fetus.
Teratogenic effects were not observed in rats following subcutaneous administration of dexmedetomidine during the period of fetal organogenesis (from gestation day 5 to 16) with doses up to 200 mcg/kg (representing a dose approximately equal to the maximum recommended human intravenous dose based on body surface area) or in rabbits following intravenous administration of dexmedetomidine during the period of fetal organogenesis (from gestation day 6 to 18) with doses up to 96 mcg/kg (representing approximately half the human exposure at the maximum recommended dose based on plasma area under the time-curve comparison). However, fetal toxicity, as evidenced by increased post-implantation losses and reduced live pups, was observed in rats at a subcutaneous dose of 200 mcg/kg. The no-effect dose in rats was 20 mcg/kg (representing a dose less than the maximum recommended human intravenous dose based on a body surface area comparison). In another reproductive toxicity study when dexmedetomidine was administered subcutaneously to pregnant rats at 8 and 32 mcg/kg (representing a dose less than the maximum recommended human intravenous dose based on a body surface area comparison) from gestation day 16 through weaning, lower offspring weights were observed. Additionally, when offspring of the 32 mcg/kg group were allowed to mate, elevated fetal and embryocidal toxicity and delayed motor development was observed in second generation offspring.

8.2 Labor and Delivery

The safety of dexmedetomidine during labor and delivery has not been studied.

8.3 Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether dexmedetomidine is excreted in human milk. Radio-labeled dexmedetomidine administered subcutaneously to lactating female rats was excreted in milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when dexmedetomidine is administered to a nursing woman.

8.4 Pediatric Use

Safety and efficacy have not been established for Procedural or ICU Sedation in pediatric patients. One assessor-blinded trial in pediatric patients and two open label studies in neonates were conducted to assess efficacy for ICU sedation. These studies did not meet their primary efficacy endpoints and the safety data submitted were insufficient to fully characterize the safety profile of dexmedetomidine for this patient population. The use of dexmedetomidine for procedural sedation in pediatric patients has not been evaluated.

8.5 Geriatric Use

Intensive Care Unit Sedation
A total of 729 patients in the clinical studies were 65 years of age and over. A total of 200 patients were 75 years of age and over. In patients greater than 65 years of age, a higher incidence of bradycardia and hypotension was observed following administration of dexmedetomidine [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)]. Therefore, a dose reduction may be considered in patients over 65 years of age [see Dosage and Administration (2.2, 2.3) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

Procedural Sedation
A total of 131 patients in the clinical studies were 65 years of age and over. A total of 47 patients were 75 years of age and over. Hypotension occurred in a higher incidence in dexmedetomidine-treated patients 65 years or older (72%) and 75 years or older (74%) as compared to patients <65 years (47%). A reduced loading dose of 0.5 mcg/kg given over 10 minutes is recommended and a reduction in the maintenance infusion should be considered for patients greater than 65 years of age.

8.6 Hepatic Impairment

Since dexmedetomidine clearance decreases with increasing severity of hepatic impairment, dose reduction should be considered in patients with impaired hepatic function [see Dosage and Administration (2.2, 2.3), Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].


9.1 Controlled Substance

Dexmedetomidine hydrochloride is not a controlled substance.

9.3 Dependence

The dependence potential of dexmedetomidine has not been studied in humans. However, since studies in rodents and primates have demonstrated that dexmedetomidine exhibits pharmacologic actions similar to those of clonidine, it is possible that dexmedetomidine may produce a clonidine-like withdrawal syndrome upon abrupt discontinuation [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5)].


The tolerability of dexmedetomidine was studied in one study in which healthy adult subjects were administered doses at and above the recommended dose of 0.2 to 0.7 mcg/kg/hr. The maximum blood concentration achieved in this study was approximately 13 times the upper boundary of the therapeutic range. The most notable effects observed in two subjects who achieved the highest doses were first degree atrioventricular block and second degree heart block. No hemodynamic compromise was noted with the atrioventricular block and the heart block resolved spontaneously within one minute.
Five adult patients received an overdose of dexmedetomidine in the intensive care unit sedation studies. Two of these patients had no symptoms reported; one patient received a 2 mcg/kg loading dose over 10 minutes (twice the recommended loading dose) and one patient received a maintenance infusion of 0.8 mcg/kg/hr. Two other patients who received a 2 mcg/kg loading dose over 10 minutes, experienced bradycardia and/or hypotension. One patient who received a loading bolus dose of undiluted dexmedetomidine (19.4 mcg/kg), had cardiac arrest from which he was successfully resuscitated.


Dexmedetomidine injection, USP is a sterile, nonpyrogenic solution suitable for intravenous infusion following dilution. Dexmedetomidine Hydrochloride in 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection is a sterile, nonpyrogenic ready to use solution suitable for intravenous infusion. Dexmedetomidine hydrochloride, USP is the S-enantiomer of medetomidine and is chemically described as (+)-4-(S)-[1-(2,3-dimethylphenyl)ethyl]-1H-imidazole monohydrochloride. Dexmedetomidine hydrochloride, USP has a molecular weight of 236.7 and the molecular formula is C13 H16 N2 ● HCl and the structural formula is:
Chemical Structure
Dexmedetomidine hydrochloride, USP is a white to off white powder that is freely soluble in water and has a pKa of 7.1. Its partition coefficient in-octanol: water at pH 7.4 is 2.89.
Dexmedetomidine injection, USP is supplied as a clear, colorless, isotonic solution with a pH of 4.5 to 7.0. Each mL contains 118 mcg of dexmedetomidine hydrochloride, USP equivalent to 100 mcg (0.1 mg) of dexmedetomidine and 9 mg of sodium chloride in water and is to be used after dilution. The solution is preservative-free and contains no additives or chemical stabilizers.
Dexmedetomidine Hydrochloride in 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection is supplied as a clear, colorless, isotonic solution with a pH of 4.5 to 7.0. Each mL contains 4.72 mcg of dexmedetomidine equivalent to 4 mcg (0.004 mg) of dexmedetomidine and 9 mg sodium chloride in water and is ready to be used. The solution is preservative-free and contains no additives or chemical stabilizers.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Dexmedetomidine is a relatively selective alpha2 -adrenergic agonist with sedative properties. Alpha2 selectivity is observed in animals following slow intravenous infusion of low and medium doses (10 to 300 mcg/kg). Both alpha1 and alpha2 activity is observed following slow intravenous infusion of high doses (≥1,000 mcg/kg) or with rapid intravenous administration.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

In a study in healthy volunteers (N = 10), respiratory rate and oxygen saturation remained within normal limits and there was no evidence of respiratory depression when dexmedetomidine was administered by intravenous infusion at doses within the recommended dose range (0.2 to 0.7 mcg/kg/hr).

12.3 Pharmacokinetics

Following intravenous administration, dexmedetomidine exhibits the following pharmacokinetic parameters: a rapid distribution phase with a distribution half-life (t1/2 ) of approximately 6 minutes; a terminal elimination half-life (t1/2 ) of approximately 2 hours; and steady-state volume of distribution (Vss ) of approximately 118 liters. Clearance is estimated to be approximately 39 L/h. The mean body weight associated with this clearance estimate was 72 kg. Dexmedetomidine exhibits linear pharmacokinetics in the dosage range of 0.2 to 0.7 mcg/kg/hr when administered by intravenous infusion for up to 24 hours. Table 8 shows the main pharmacokinetic parameters when dexmedetomidine was infused (after appropriate loading doses) at maintenance infusion rates of 0.17 mcg/kg/hr (target plasma concentration of 0.3 ng/mL) for 12 and 24 hours, 0.33 mcg/kg/hr (target plasma concentration of 0.6 ng/mL) for 24 hours, and 0.70 mcg/kg/hr (target plasma concentration of 1.25 ng/mL) for 24 hours.

Table 8: Mean ± SD Pharmacokinetic Parameters
Abbreviations: t1/2 = half-life, CL = clearance, Vss = steady-state volume of distribution * Presented as harmonic mean and pseudo standard deviation. # Mean Css = Average steady-state concentration of dexmedetomidine. The mean Css was calculated based on post-dose sampling from 2.5 to 9 hours samples for 12 hour infusion and post-dose sampling from 2.5 to 18 hours for 24 hour infusions.
Parameter Loading Infusion (min)/Total Infusion Duration (hrs)
10 min/12 hrs 10 min/24 hrs 10 min/24 hrs 35 min/24 hrs
Dexmedetomidine Target Plasma Concentration (ng/mL) and Dose (mcg/kg/hr)
0.3/0.17 0.3/0.17 0.6/0.33 1.25/0.70
t1/2 * , hour 1.78 ± 0.30 2.22 ± 0.59 2.23 ± 0.21 2.50 ± 0.61
CL, liter/hour 46.3 ± 8.3 43.1 ± 6.5 35.3 ± 6.8 36.5 ± 7.5
Vss , liter 88.7 ± 22.9 102.4 ± 20.3 93.6 ± 17.0 99.6 ± 17.8
Avg Css # , ng/mL 0.27 ± 0.05 0.27 ± 0.05 0.67 ± 0.10 1.37 ± 0.20

The loading doses for each of the above indicated groups were 0.5, 0.5, 1 and 2.2 mcg/kg, respectively.
Dexmedetomidine pharmacokinetic parameters after dexmedetomidine maintenance doses of 0.2 to 1.4 mcg/kg/hr for >24 hours were similar to the pharmacokinetic (PK) parameters after dexmedetomidine maintenance dosing for <24 hours in other studies. The values for clearance (CL), volume of distribution (V), and t1/2 were 39.4 L/hr, 152 L, and 2.67 hours, respectively.
The steady-state volume of distribution (Vss ) of dexmedetomidine was approximately 118 liters. Dexmedetomidine protein binding was assessed in the plasma of normal healthy male and female subjects. The average protein binding was 94% and was constant across the different plasma concentrations tested. Protein binding was similar in males and females. The fraction of dexmedetomidine that was bound to plasma proteins was significantly decreased in subjects with hepatic impairment compared to healthy subjects.
The potential for protein binding displacement of dexmedetomidine by fentanyl, ketorolac, theophylline, digoxin and lidocaine was explored in vitro , and negligible changes in the plasma protein binding of dexmedetomidine were observed. The potential for protein binding displacement of phenytoin, warfarin, ibuprofen, propranolol, theophylline and digoxin by dexmedetomidine was explored in vitro and none of these compounds appeared to be significantly displaced by dexmedetomidine.
Dexmedetomidine undergoes almost complete biotransformation with very little unchanged dexmedetomidine excreted in urine and feces. Biotransformation involves both direct glucuronidation as well as cytochrome P450 mediated metabolism. The major metabolic pathways of dexmedetomidine are: direct N-glucuronidation to inactive metabolites; aliphatic hydroxylation (mediated primarily by CYP2A6 with a minor role of CYP1A2, CYP2E1, CYP2D6 and CYP2C19) of dexmedetomidine to generate 3-hydroxy-dexmedetomidine, the glucuronide of 3-hydroxy-dexmedetomidine, and 3-carboxy-dexmedetomidine; and N-methylation of dexmedetomidine to generate 3-hydroxy N-methyl-dexmedetomidine, 3-carboxy N-methyl-dexmedetomidine, and dexmedetomidine-N-methyl O-glucuronide.
The terminal elimination half-life (t1/2 ) of dexmedetomidine is approximately 2 hours and clearance is estimated to be approximately 39 L/h. A mass balance study demonstrated that after nine days an average of 95% of the radioactivity, following intravenous administration of radiolabeled dexmedetomidine, was recovered in the urine and 4% in the feces. No unchanged dexmedetomidine was detected in the urine. Approximately 85% of the radioactivity recovered in the urine was excreted within 24 hours after the infusion. Fractionation of the radioactivity excreted in urine demonstrated that products of N-glucuronidation accounted for approximately 34% of the cumulative urinary excretion. In addition, aliphatic hydroxylation of parent drug to form 3-hydroxy-dexmedetomidine, the glucuronide of 3-hydroxy-dexmedetomidine, and 3-carboxylic acid-dexmedetomidine together represented approximately 14% of the dose in urine. N-methylation of dexmedetomidine to form 3-hydroxy N-methyl dexmedetomidine, 3-carboxy N-methyl dexmedetomidine, and N-methyl O-glucuronide dexmedetomidine accounted for approximately 18% of the dose in urine. The N-Methyl metabolite itself was a minor circulating component and was undetected in urine. Approximately 28% of the urinary metabolites have not been identified.

Specific Populations

Male and Female Patients

There was no observed difference in dexmedetomidine pharmacokinetics due to gender.

Geriatric Patients

The pharmacokinetic profile of dexmedetomidine was not altered by age. There were no differences in the pharmacokinetics of dexmedetomidine in young (18 to 40 years), middle age (41 to 65 years), and elderly (>65 years) subjects.

Patients with Hepatic Impairment

In subjects with varying degrees of hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class A, B, or C), clearance values for dexmedetomidine were lower than in healthy subjects. The mean clearance values for patients with mild, moderate, and severe hepatic impairment were 74%, 64% and 53% of those observed in the normal healthy subjects, respectively. Mean clearances for free drug were 59%, 51% and 32% of those observed in the normal healthy subjects, respectively.

Although dexmedetomidine is dosed to effect, it may be necessary to consider dose reduction in subjects with hepatic impairment [see Dosage and Administration (2.2),Warnings and Precautions (5.7)].

Patients with Renal Impairment

Dexmedetomidine pharmacokinetics (Cmax, Tmax, AUC, t1/2, CL, and Vss) were not significantly different in patients with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance: <30 mL/min) compared to healthy subjects.

Drug Interaction Studies

In vitro studies: In vitro studies in human liver microsomes demonstrated no evidence of cytochrome P450 mediated drug interactions that are likely to be of clinical relevance. provides trustworthy package insert and label information about marketed drugs as submitted by manufacturers to the US Food and Drug Administration. Package information is not reviewed or updated separately by Every individual package label entry contains a unique identifier which can be used to secure further details directly from the US National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA.

As the leading independent provider of trustworthy medication information, we source our database directly from the FDA's central repository of drug labels and package inserts under the Structured Product Labeling standard. Our material is not intended as a substitute for direct consultation with a qualified health professional.

Terms of Use | Copyright © 2021. All Rights Reserved.