Dexmedetomidine (dex-med-e-toh-med-een) hydrochloride

Consumer Medicine Information

What is in this leaflet

This leaflet answers some common questions about PRECEDEX® and PRECEDEX® READY TO USE (collectively referred to as PRECEDEX® in this leaflet unless stated otherwise).

It does not contain all the available information. It does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.

All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you taking PRECEDEX® against the benefits they expect it will have for you.

If you have any concerns about taking this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Keep this leaflet You may need to read it again.

What PRECEDEX® is used for

Intensive Care Sedation

PRECEDEX® can be used as a sedative (calming agent) if adults need to be calm or sleepy in the Intensive Care Unit whilst they are being ventilated (on a breathing machine). It may be given as an infusion up to 24 hours.

Procedural Sedation

PRECEDEX® can be given to adults prior to an operation if they are not on a ventilator (breathing machine) if it is required for the procedure or surgery that they be sleepy and calm.

This medicine belongs to a group of medicines called alpha-2-receptor agonists. This medicine works by its actions on brain chemicals.

Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why this medicine has been prescribed for you. Your doctor may have prescribed it for another reason.

PRECEDEX® is only available with a doctor’s prescription.

Before you are given PRECEDEX®

When you must not take it

Do not take PRECEDEX® if you have an allergy to:

  • any medicine containing dexmedetomidine hydrochloride
  • any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet.

Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction may include:

  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body
  • rash, itching or hives on the skin

Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant. It may affect your developing baby if you take it during pregnancy.

Do not breast-feed if you are taking this medicine. The active ingredient in PRECEDEX® passes into breast milk and there is a possibility that your baby may be affected.

Do not give this medicine to a child under the age of 18 years. Safety and effectiveness in children younger than 18 years have not been established.

Do not take this medicine after the expiry date printed on the pack or if the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering. If it has expired or is damaged, return it to your pharmacist for disposal.

If you are not sure whether you should start taking this medicine, talk to your doctor.

Before you start to take it

Tell your doctor if you have allergies to any other medicines, foods, preservatives or dyes.

Tell your doctor if you have or have had any of the following medical conditions:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetes

Elderly patients greater than 65 years old may be more prone to the blood pressure lowering effects of PRECEDEX®.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant or are breast-feeding. Your doctor can discuss with you the risks and benefits involved.

If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell him/her before you start taking PRECEDEX®.

Taking other medicines

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including any that you get without a prescription from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop.

Some medicines and PRECEDEX® may interfere with each other. These include:

  • medicines used to produce calmness or to help you sleep
  • strong pain relievers

These medicines may be affected by PRECEDEX® or may affect how well it works. You may need different amounts of your medicines, or you may need to take different medicines.

Your doctor and pharmacist have more information on medicines to be careful with or avoid while taking this medicine.

How to take PRECEDEX®

Follow all directions given to you by your doctor or pharmacist carefully. They may differ from the information contained in this leaflet.

How much to take

Your doctor will decide what dose you will receive. This depends on your condition and other factors such as your weight. The dose will be adjusted to keep you at the right depth of sleep or sedation.

How to it is given

PRECEDEX® is given by a slow injection (drip) into a vein. PRECEDEX® should only be given by a doctor or nurse.

If you take too much (overdose)

As PRECEDEX® is given to you under the supervision of your doctor, it is very unlikely that you will receive too much.

Symptoms of an overdose may include extreme drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, weakness or becoming unconscious.

While you are using PRECEDEX®

Things you must do

Tell any other doctors, dentists, and pharmacists who treat you that you are taking this medicine.

If you are going to have surgery, tell the surgeon or anaesthetist that you are taking this medicine. It may affect other medicines used during surgery.

If you become pregnant while taking this medicine, tell your doctor immediately.

If you are about to have any blood tests, tell your doctor that you are taking this medicine. It may interfere with the results of some tests.

Things you must not do

Do not take PRECEDEX® to treat any other complaints unless your doctor tells you to.

Do not give your medicine to anyone else, even if they have the same condition as you.

Things to be careful of

Be careful driving or operating machinery until you know how PRECEDEX® affects you. This medicine may cause dizziness, light-headedness, tiredness, drowsiness, and therefore affect alertness in some people. If you have any of these symptoms, do not drive, operate machinery or do anything else that could be dangerous. Ask your doctor when you can return to work involving driving or operating machinery or heavy equipment.

If you feel light-headed, dizzy or faint when getting out of bed or standing up, get up slowly. Standing up slowly, especially when you get up from bed or chairs, will help your body get used to the change in position and blood pressure. If this problem continues or gets worse, talk to your doctor.

Side effects

Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are taking PRECEDEX®.

This medicine helps provide sedation for most people but it may have unwanted side effects in a few people. All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they are not. You may need medical attention if you get some of the side effects.

If you are over 65 years of age you may have an increased chance of getting side effects

Do not be alarmed by the following lists of side effects. You may not experience any of them.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any of the following and they worry you:

  • dizziness
  • light-headedness
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • high temperature
  • dry mouth

The above list includes the more common side effects of your medicine. They are usually mild and short-lived.

Tell your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you notice any of the following:

  • changes in heart rate including slowing or quickening of heart beat

The above list includes very serious side effects. You may need urgent medical attention or hospitalisation.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice anything that is making you feel unwell.

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some people.

After using PRECEDEX®


PRECEDEX® and PRECEDEX® READY TO USE will be stored in the pharmacy or kept on the ward. They are kept in a cool dry place where the temperature stays below 25°C.

Product description

What it looks like

PRECEDEX® (100 micrograms/mL) is a clear, colourless solution. It is available in 2 mL glass vials.

PRECEDEX® READY TO USE (4 micrograms/mL) is a clear, colourless solution. It is available in 20 mL glass vials and 50 mL and 100 mL glass bottles. (Not available in New Zealand)


PRECEDEX® (100 micrograms/mL)
contains 118 micrograms/mL of dexmedetomidine hydrochloride (equivalent to 100 micrograms/mL dexmedetomidine base) as the active ingredient.

It also contains:

  • sodium chloride
  • water for injections

PRECEDEX® READY TO USE (4 micrograms/mL)
contains 4.72 micrograms/mL of dexmedetomidine hydrochloride (equivalent to 4 micrograms/mL dexmedetomidine base) as the active ingredient.

It also contains:

  • sodium chloride
  • water for injections

This medicine does not contain lactose, sucrose, gluten, tartrazine or any other azo dyes.

Supplier / Sponsor

PRECEDEX® and PRECEDEX® READY TO USE are supplied by:

Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd
Sydney NSW Australia
Toll Free Number: 1800 675 229

New Zealand Sponsor:

Pfizer New Zealand Limited
Auckland, New Zealand
Toll Free Number: 0800 736 363

PRECEDEX® (100 micrograms/mL) is available in the following form:

200 micrograms/2 mL AUST R 81323

PRECEDEX® READY TO USE (4 micrograms/mL) is available in the following forms:

80 micrograms/20 mL AUST R 234022

200 micrograms/50 mL AUST R 234023

400 micrograms/100 mL AUST R 234024

This leaflet was updated in March 2018

Published by MIMS June 2018

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