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Propofol (Molecule of the Month for January 2015)

Diprivan, Penguin Milk

Propofol is a short-acting intravenous anesthetic agent used for the induction of general anesthesia in adult patients and pediatric patients older than 3 years of age. It is also used for the maintenance of general anesthesia in adult patients and pediatric patients older than 2 months of age and also for sedation. It is also commonly used in veterinary medicine and many veterinary anaesthetists regard it as the induction agent of choice for small animals (dogs, cats etc) as it can be administered to effect, reducing the risk of accidental overdose.

Propofol is a water-immiscible oil, so is used as an emulsion of a soya oil/propofol mixture in water, this makes it appear as a highly opaque white fluid.

A common hospital-worker slang term for Propofol is "Milk of Amnesia/Milk of Anesthesiologists", the former a pun on Milk of Magnesia, a similarly milky laxative. It is also called "Penguin Milk" by some eminent pediatric anesthesiologists in the UK whilst inducing children ("gets them confused and takes their mind off what's happening").

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)



Picture of Propofol 3D model

click on the picture of  Propofol above to interact
with the 3D model of the
Propofol structure
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Picture of Propofol

C12 H18 O

Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for January 2015 )

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