What is intravenous sedation?

Sedation is often used when painful procedures need to be carried out, for example when putting dislocated joints back in place or when patients need stitches. The sedative is given by injection into a vein (intravenous). The medication aims to reduce your level of pain and awareness.

You may have experienced some memory loss during the procedure – do not worry, this is normal.

Side-effects of sedation

You will be discharged from the emergency department once you are capable of being independent and have a responsible adult to escort you home and stay with you for 24 hours.

Side-effects of sedation include tiredness and difficulty concentrating and these can continue even after being discharged from the department. As the medication might affect you for the next 24 hours, we advise that you:

Do not

  • drive a vehicle
  • operate any machinery
  • sign any important/legal documents
  • stay alone
  • be the sole carer for any adult or child
  • do not drink alcohol for 24 hours.


  • drink plenty of fluids
  • stay with a responsible adult
  • arrange to be collected from the hospital if possible
  • get plenty of rest.

It is unlikely that you will need to stop any medications as a result of the intravenous sedation you have received. Most symptoms should improve over the next 24 hours; however if you or your carer has any concerns, please contact the emergency department you visited:

Barnet Hospital emergency department

Tel: 020 8216 5017

Royal Free Hospital emergency department

Tel: 020 7794 0500, ext 33377.