It was revealed just recently that Propofol, a short-acting, intravenously administered sedative agent is what might have caused the cardiac arrest of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. But what is propofol and why is it used by Jackson? It was said that Jackson is always begging for pain killers and he was also suffering from insomnia. Perhaps the lifestyle of Jackson and his workaholic and perfectionist attitude is what caused him this setbacks and back attacks by his body.
Propofol (INN, marketed as Diprivan by AstraZeneca) is a short-acting, intravenously administered sedative agent. It has several uses in anesthesia and sedation, including induction of general anesthesia in adults and children, maintenance of general anesthesia, sedation for intubated, mechanically ventilated adults in the intensive care unit (ICU), sedation in procedures such as colonoscopy and endoscopy, and dental surgery; it is also commonly used in veterinary medicine. Propofol is approved for use in more than 50 countries, and generic versions are available.
Some of the known side effects of Propofol are aside from the hypotension (mainly through vasodilatation) and transient apnea following induction doses, one of propofol's most frequent side-effects is pain on injection, especially in smaller veins. This pain can be mitigated by pretreatment with lidocaine. Patients tend to show great variability in their response to propofol, at times showing profound sedation with small doses. A more serious but rare side-effect is dystonia. Mild myoclonic movements are common, as with other intravenous hypnotic agents. Propofol appears to be safe for use in porphyria, and has not been known to trigger malignant hyperpyrexia.
Another recently described rare, but serious, side-effect is propofol infusion syndrome. This potentially lethal metabolic derangement has been reported in critically-ill patients after a prolonged infusion of high-dose propofol in combination with catecholamines and/or corticosteroids.