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Desflurane (Molecule of the Month for June 2007)

Desflurane is used for maintenance of general anaesthesia. Together with sevoflurane, it is gradually replacing isoflurane for human use, except in the third world where its high cost precludes its use. It has the most rapid onset and offset of the volatile anaesthetic drugs used for general anaesthesia due to its low solubility in blood.

The major drawbacks of desflurane are its low potency, its pungency and its high cost. It may cause tachycardia and airway irritability when administered at concentrations greater than 10 vol%.

Though it vaporises very readily, it is a liquid at room temperature. Anaesthetic machines use an unusual anaesthetic vaporiser that heats it to generate a gas.

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)



Picture of Desflurane

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Desflurane structure
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Picture of Desflurane

C3 H2 F6 O

Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for June 2007 )