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4-NEMD is a potent sedative drug which acts as a selective alpha-2 adrenergic agonist. It is closely related to dexmedetomidine but is several times more potent. Like other alpha-2 agonists, it produces sedative and muscle relaxant effects but without producing respiratory depression. It is not currently used in medicine but has been researched as the basis for a potential new generation of alpha-2 agonist drugs, which may have selectivity for the different subtypes of the alpha-2 receptor. It has two isomers, with the (S) isomer being the more potent, as with medetomidine. 4-NEMD was also investigated by the United States military as an anaesthetic agent, most likely for use in surgery but possibly also for use as a non-lethal incapacitating agent.
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- Hong, SS; Romstedt, KJ; Feller, DR; Hsu, FL; George, C; Cupps, TL; Lyon, RA; Miller, DD (1992). "Resolution and adrenergic activities of the optical isomers of 4-1-(1-naphthyl)ethyl-1H-imidazole". Chirality 4 (7): 432–8. PMID 1361151. doi:10.1002/chir.530040706.
- Fu-Lian Hsu and William P. Ashman. 4-(1-(1-naphthalenyl)ethyl)- 1H- imidazole, method of making and use as an anesthetic agent. US patent 5151526.
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