Medications for pain control, sedation, infection and procedures

It is very important for staff to have an accurate list of the medications your family member takes, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements. Please tell the ICU team if your loved one is using any medications.  This will help minimize the chance of adverse drug reactions.

There are many different medications that may be used in the MSICU. Medications that are more specific to a body system can be found under other headings. Some drugs are used to treat any immediate issues while others may be given to prevent possible complications. Many drugs can act to reduce anxiety, help a person sleep, or relieve pain.

Treatment to relieve pain and suffering is just as important as treatment of the underlying illness or injury. Pain and anxiety have been shown to slow down the healing process.

Here are some of the kinds of medications used:

Analgesics (Painkillers)

Analgesics are used to prevent or relieve pain. These drugs are given at doses that will relieve pain while minimizing side effects such as drowsiness or confusion.


These medications are given to reduce a person’s anxiety and awareness of the environment.


Also called anti-microbials, these drugs are used to fight bacterial infection. If the infection is widespread, it is called sepsis.


Anti-virals are used to fight viral infections. These drugs limit the ability of viruses to reproduce in the body’s cells.


Anti-fungals are used to prevent and treat infections from fungus and yeasts. These infections can cause ‘thrush’ in the mouth and possibly lung problems.


Anti-psychotic medications may be used to treat symptoms of delirium such as confusion and agitation.