Drugs are an essential part of the care provided in an ICU. The amount and type of drugs given to a patient will vary according to their condition and progress. ICU staff will explain your relative’s individual needs.
Drugs to stop the pain
The types of painkillers used in an ICU are powerful. They can make a conscious patient drowsy, but they are effective in pain relief and can reduce patient anxiety.
Drugs to keep a patient rested
Sedatives are used to keep a patient in a deep sleep or in smaller doses to keep a conscious patient calm. This makes them more tolerant of the tubes and equipment attached to them. Some sedatives cause patients to lose their short-term memory temporarily. Patients will often not remember periods of their stay on ICU.
Drugs to keep a patient still
Sometimes additional drugs are given to a sedated patient to stop any muscle movement and allow them to be attached more comfortably to breathing equipment. These drugs make a sedated patient seem unresponsive because the drugs prevent them from making facial expressions or moving their hands.
Drugs to help a patient's heart work more effectively
Inotropes are a group of powerful drugs that help to make the heart work more effectively. They also maintain a patient's blood pressure.