Effect of Enteral Guanfacine on Dexmedetomidine Use in the ICU

Megan B. Fetters, Calvin Diep, Ran Ran, Amy Kloosterboer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Describe the efficacy and safety of guanfacine for dexmedetomidine weaning in critically ill patients. DESIGN: Retrospective descriptive analysis. SETTING: Six hundred thirteen-bed academic medical center from October 2020 to October 2021. PATIENT/SUBJECTS: All Adult patients on IV dexmedetomidine who received at least one dose of guanfacine for sedation or agitation were included. INTERVENTIONS: Enteral guanfacine. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: The primary outcome was discontinuation of dexmedetomidine therapy within 48 hours after guanfacine initiation. Secondary outcomes assessed included adjunctive medication use, rate of dexmedetomidine reinitiation, and safety outcomes. One hundred five patients were included in the analysis. Median age was 59 years old, 66% were male, and median daily dose of guanfacine was 1.5 mg. Dexmedetomidine was discontinued within 48 hours in 58% of patients (n = 61) and within 72 hours in 71% of patients (n = 75). Fifty-five percent of patients (n = 58) required rescue medications for poorly controlled agitation, sedation, or pain while on guanfacine. Dexmedetomidine withdrawal occurred in 2% of patients (n = 2) while on guanfacine. Adverse effects attributed to guanfacine occurred in 8% of patients (n = 8), all experiencing hypotension leading to medication discontinuation. CONCLUSION: Dexmedetomidine was successfully weaned within 48 hours of guanfacine initiation in 58% of patients with minimal withdrawal or adverse effects. Guanfacine may be an effective and safe enteral option for dexmedetomidine weaning in critically ill patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E0785
JournalCritical Care Explorations
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022


  • adrenergic alpha-2 receptor agonists
  • critical illness
  • dexmedetomidine
  • drug withdrawal symptoms
  • guanfacine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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