Also Known As: Propofol, Diprivan
Propofol (INN, marketed as Diprivan by AstraZeneca) 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 is approved for use in more than 50 countries, and generic versions are available.
Chemically, propofol is unrelated to barbiturates and has largely replaced sodium thiopental (Pentothal) for induction of anesthesia because recovery from propofol is more rapid and "clear" when compared with thiopental. Propofol is not considered a strong analgesic, so opioids such as fentanyl may be combined with propofol to alleviate pain. Propofol has been referred to as "milk of amnesia" (a play on words of milk of magnesia), because of the milk-like appearance of its intravenous preparation.
Propofol is used for induction and maintenance of anesthesia, having largely replaced sodium thiopental for this indication. Propofol is also used to sedate individuals who are receiving mechanical ventilation. In critically ill patients propofol has been found to be superior to lorazepam both in effectiveness as well as overall cost. Propofol is also used for procedural sedation, for example during endoscopic procedures. Its use in these settings results in a faster recovery compared to midazolam.