Propofol (INN, marketed as Diprivan by Fresenius Kabi) is a short-acting, intravenously administered hypnotic/amnestic 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. It is approved for use in more than 50 countries, and generic versions are available. Chemically, propofol is not related 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 an 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. It is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a health system.
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