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Table 1 Common opioid analgesics for ICU patients

From: Pain management of nalbuphine and sufentanil in patients admitted intensive care unit of different ages

Drug Mechanism of action Equivalent dose Onset Duration of analgesia Common adverse reactions
Morphine μ-opioid agonist (also with κ-opioid and δ-opioid agonist effects) 10 mg 15–60 min 4–5 h Respiration depression, Nausea, Vomiting, Drowsiness, Constipation, Hypotension, Urinary retention, Itching
Fentanyl μ-opioid agonist (also with κ-opioid agonist effects) 0.1 mg  < 1–2 min 1–1.5 h Respiration depression, Nausea, Constipation, Skeletal-muscle rigidity
Sufentanil μ-opioid agonist (also with κ-opioid agonist effects) 0.02 mg within a few minutes 1–1.5 h Respiratory depression, Nausea, Dizziness, Vomiting, Itching, Skeletal-muscle rigidity
Nalbuphine μ-opioid antagonist (also with κ-opioid agonist effect) 10 mg 2–3 min 3–6 h Nausea, Drowsiness, Sweating, Dry mouth, Dizziness. (nearly no psychotomimetic side effects)