Dear Doctor: Anesthetic drug must be monitored carefully

Dear Doctor: Anesthetic drug must be monitored carefully.

Question: Will I receive Diprivan (propofol), the same medication implicated in Michael Jackson’s death as part of my next anesthetic?

Answer: It is very likely that you will receive propofol during your next anesthetic, be it sedation, commonly called “twilight sleep,” for a minor procedure or general anesthesia for surgery. Propofol is a safe intravenous medication when used for its intended purpose of providing a state of sedation or general anesthesia. It has been used safely every day by anesthesiologists for this purpose for years. However, like many medications, it may have serious side effects. The potential effects of propofol on breathing and blood pressure cause its use to be carefully restricted even within hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Propofol has never had an indication as a home sleep aid.

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Allegheny County Medical Society
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