It had the same anxiety-reducing effects as standard sedative medication—and the drug also can cause side effects like breathing problems, hostility and agitation, say researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
The researchers gave 157 patients the choice of having 1 to 2 mg of the sedative midazolam or listening on headphones to a piece of ambient music, Weightless by Marconi Union, which was specially prepared by sound therapists to reduce stress and anxiety.
The researchers evaluated the stress levels of the patients before and after the two options and discovered similar levels of anxiety in both groups.
Music is being offered as a pre-op procedure in the school's surgical center, often before outpatient surgery, said Veena Graff, one of the researchers. "Our research shows there are drug-free alternatives to help calm a patient," she said. The study was the first to test the effectiveness of music against an intravenous sedative.