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Are preanesthetic medications necessary?

Patient stress is probably a contributing factor in some cases of adverse patient outcome. Stress and anxiety can lead to increased doses of anesthetic agents resulting in excessive anesthetic depth once the patient is anesthetized. Premedication with a tranquilizer or sedative will help reduce anxiety and stress during the perioperative period. Use of analgesics prior to surgery (preemptive analgesia) may also be beneficial. Opioids (such as morphine) are commonly incorporated into preanesthetic protocols to facilitate sedation and analgesia. When opioids are used, anesthetic drug associated respiratory depression may be enhanced, but adequate patient monitoring will facilitate early detection of significant respiratory depression and allow appropriate management.

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