Home > Propofol (Molecule of the Month for June 2009 )
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Propofol is a short-acting, intravenously administered hypnotic agent. Its uses include the induction and maintenance of general anesthesia, sedation for mechanically ventilated adults, and procedural sedation. Propofol is also commonly used in veterinary medicine. Propofol was originally developed in the UK by Imperial Chemical Industries as ICI 35868.
Aside from low blood pressure (mainly through vasodilation) and transient apnea following induction doses, one of propofol's most frequent side effects is pain on injection, especially in smaller veins. This pain can be mitigated by pretreatment with lidocaine. Patients show great variability in their response to propofol, at times showing profound sedation with small doses. As with any other general anesthetic agent propofol should not be administered where appropriately trained staff and facilities for monitoring, airway managment, supply of supplemental oxygen, artificial ventilation and cardiovascular resuscitation are not available.
There are reports of self-administration of propofol for recreational purposes. Short-term effects include mild euphoria, hallucinations, and disinhibition. Long-term use has been reported to result in addiction. Such use of the drug has been described amongst medical staff such as anaesthetists who have access to the drug, Abuse is reported to be more common among anaesthetists on rotas (rotations) with short rest periods as abusers report rousing to a well-rested state. Abuse of the drug is relatively rare due to its potency and the level of monitoring required to take it safely. Attention to the risks of non-medical use of propofol increased in August of 2009 due to the Los Angeles County coroner's conclusion that Michael Jackson died from a mixture of propofol and the benzodiazepine drug lorazepam. According to a July 22 search warrant affidavit unsealed by the district court of Harris County, Texas, Jackson's personal physician administered 25 milligrams of propofol diluted with lidocaine shortly before his death
Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for June 2009 )