Alpha 2 Adrenergic Agonists
Alpha 2 adrenergic agonists bind to alpha 2 receptors located in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord and brainstem, modulating
the release of substance P, calcitonin gene-related peptide and various other neurotransmitters involved in rostral transmission
of nociceptive information. Opioids likely exert their analgesic action through similar modulatory pathways and co-administration
may result in additive or synergistic drug interactions. In humans alpha 2 agonists are often used as "rescue therapy" when
opioid tolerance has developed. Use in surgical patients should be reserved for patients that have been stabilized with normal
Dexdomitor - FDA-approved indications
1. Sedation and analgesia in cats as young as 12 weeks of age
2. Sedation and analgesia in dogs as young as 16 weeks of age
3. As a preanesthetic prior to general anesthesia in dogs, for concurrent use with commonly used induction and anesthetic
Sedation and Analgesia in Cats
A label indication for use in cats is a new feature of Dexdomitor when compared to Domitor. Although Domitor was used in
cats however this was off-label. The dose of dexmedetomidine is approximately 20-40 mcg/kg. The IM route of administration
is convenient when handling stressed patients, but intravenous administration will usually result in a faster onset of action.
Dexmedetomidine is suitable for various short-term feline procedures, specifically for procedures requiring sedation and/or
analgesia but not requiring intubation. The reversal agent atipamezole (Antisedan) is not approved for use in cats, however
previous experience with atipamezole reversal of Domitor in cats suggests it is effective.
Sedation and Analgesia in Dogs
Flexible dosing is a new label indication for Dexdomitor in dogs. A low dose of 375 mcg/m2 IV vs a higher dose of 500 mcg/m2
IM was approved to facilitate following label directions, yet keeping the dose as low as possible to provide sedation and
analgesia. It should be remembered that reducing the dose does not prevent the cardiovascular changes associated with all
alpha 2 agonists (increased vascular resistance and lowered cardiac output) but should reduce the duration of these effects
and in some individuals reduce the peak effect.
Preanesthesia in Dogs
Dexdomitor is now FDA-approved for concurrent use with commonly used induction and anesthetic agents, and has proven safe
for use in dogs as young as 16 weeks of age. Although some veterinarians had previously used Domitor as a preanesthetic,
this was extra-label. There are two approved dosing options for use as a preanesthetic: 125 mcg/m2 given IM for cooperative
sedation that allows most dogs to remain ambulatory, a useful option for larger patients or 375 mcg/m2 given IM for deeper
sedation, a useful option for patients requiring procedures of extended duration or associated with severe pain. The choice
of preanesthetic dose depends on patient disposition, severity and duration of procedure, and the anesthetic protocol. It
must be remembered that Dexdomitor markedly reduces anesthetic requirements for all induction drugs including propofol or
ketamine and maintenance using isoflurane or sevoflurane.