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Drugs. 1995 Sep;50(3):513-59.

Propofol. An update of its use in anaesthesia and conscious sedation.

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Adis International Limited, Auckland, New Zealand.


Propofol is an intravenous sedative hypnotic agent which rapidly and reliably causes loss of consciousness. It is also associated with a quick and 'smooth' recovery, which distinguishes it from many of the more traditional anaesthetic regimens. Like other intravenous agents, propofol is both a cardiovascular and a respiratory depressant; however, the risk of these effects can be lessened by appropriate dosage adjustment or patient management. Anaphylaxis with propofol is rare. Propofol anaesthesia in day case surgery is consistently associated with a quicker early recovery than other intravenous agents and the more traditional anaesthetic regimens. Savings in time to discharge were more variable compared with these regimens, although propofol was commonly associated with less post-operative nausea and vomiting in this period. In the future, the relative benefits of propofol compared with the newer volatile agents (desflurane and sevoflurane) and propofol/volatile agent combinations need to be examined in this clinical setting. There is now clinical experience with propofol in major surgical procedures including cardiac and neurosurgery. Propofol has also been investigated as a sedative accompanying regional or local anaesthesia for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and in other clinical settings (ophthalmic surgery, cardioversion and electroconvulsive therapy). The unique antiemetic, antiepileptic and antipruritic effects of propofol may further broaden its appeal. As a result of its favourable recovery profile, propofol holds a central place in day case surgery anaesthesia. Accumulating clinical experience in cardiac and neurosurgery suggests that the full potential of propofol has yet to be realised.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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