Sedation in the emergency department

Sedation medicines help you to relax. If you feel comfortable, this helps with anxiety and pain.

You are unlikely to remember everything that happened while you were sedated. You only leave hospital when you have recovered enough from the effects of sedation and your painkillers.

Although you might feel OK, your judgement and coordination might be affected for the next 24 hours.

Please follow these instructions for the next 24 hours.


  • stay with a responsible adult
  • rest quietly
  • drink plenty of fluid and eat light meals


  • do not drive a car or any other vehicle, including a bicycle
  • do not operate any machinery
  • do not drink alcohol, or take any sedatives or recreational drugs
  • do not lock the toilet or bathroom door
  • do not do any activities at heights 
  • do not do any sports
  • do not be responsible for caring for young children  
  • do not sign any legal documents or make important decisions

Resource number: 4599/VER2
Last reviewed: November 2021
Next review due: November 2024

Contact us

If you have any questions, please contact a GP.

If you have an urgent medical problem, contact NHS 111 at any time.

You can call 111 or go to 111.nhs.uk

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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