Measurement of opioid-induced sedation

Stacey Young-McCaughan, Christine Miaskowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


One of the major side effects of opioid analgesics is sedation. Despite the fact that neither a universal definition nor a gold standard for the measurement of opioid-induced sedation exists, various neurophysiologic and psychomotor measures are used to quantify the sedative effects of opioids. This report reviews the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches that are used to measure opioid-induced sedation. The first section summarizes various neurophysiologic measures (i.e., electroencephalogram, autonomic reflexes, and evoked responses), and the second section reviews psychomotor measures (i.e., visual analog scales, observer assessments, motor performance tests, tests of perceptual processes, tests of information processing, tests of memory, and composite tests) that are used to evaluate the sedative effects of opioids. Implications for future research on opioid-induced sedation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-149
Number of pages18
JournalPain Management Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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