Objectives: To study the utilization pattern and the cost of sedatives, analgesics and neuromuscular blocking agents in a multidisciplinary intensive care unit (ICU).
Methods: A prospective observational study was conducted in the ICU of the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Trinidad and Tobago, for a period of twelve weeks. All patients admitted to the ICU were enrolled. No interventions were done. Data collected included demographics, diagnoses on admission, length of stay in the ICU, status of mechanical ventilation, patient outcome, quantity of sedatives, analgesics and neuromuscular blocking agents used in every patient and their cost.
Results: There were 333 patient-days encountered from 34 patients studied. Midazolam, fentanyl and cisatracurium were the most commonly used sedative, opioid and neuromuscular blocking agents respectively. The total cost of drugs used for sedation, analgesia and neuromuscular blockade was approximately US$ 19 600 per annum. Cost for this treatment alone accounted for more than 50% of the total ICU drug costs. The costs were significantly higher in patients who stayed more than two weeks in the ICU when compared to those who stayed less than two weeks (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: The study highlights the utilization pattern and financial burden of sedation, analgesia and neuromuscular blockade in the delivery of critical care.