Anesthetic Drug Abuse

Anesthetic Drug Abuse

Propofol is an anesthetic drug that's administered to patients undergoing surgery and other medical procedures because the medication promotes sedation, sleep and loss of consciousness. When Propofol is administered by intravenous injection, the medication works very fast and in less than a minute, the patient is put to sleep.

Propofol is the generic form of Diprivan and is administered by a trained anesthesiologist to the patient through an IV which then produces sedation or loss of consciousness. Propofol is a powerful anesthetic drug that also can be obtained by prescription for use in "human and veterinary medicine" in the United States. Because the intravenous form of Propofol resembles a milky like substance, it's often referred to as "milk of amnesia" according to Wikipedia.

Propofol Side Effects

Some of the side effects that may be experienced from the use of Propofol are more serious than others. Those that are less serious might include symptoms such as nauseousness (upset stomach), coughing, and irritation around the site of injection, mild itching, mild skin rash, anxiety and confusion.

Some of the more serious side effects associated with propofol use may include seizures, shallow or weakened breathing, a rapid or slow heart rate, the area where Propofol was injected may swell, blister or become painful. Serious side effects need to be reported to a physician.

There are also serious symptoms associated with Propofol due to an allergic reaction which includes hives, breathing problems, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat.

Propofol is more commonly abused by individuals in the field of health care and is not scheduled under the Controlled Substance Act. Due to the abuse of propofol, some fatalities have occurred.

Propofol Abuse and Addiction

Like many other legal drugs though, Propofol is also abused. I'm sure most people are familiar with the anesthetic drug because Propofol is one of the drugs that have been linked to the death of Michael Jackson in June of 2009.

Propofol Abuse Among Professionals

Some medical professionals such as anesthetists, physicians, nurses and other health care staff have been treated for Propofol abuse including addiction because some have become dependent on the anesthetic drug for various reasons. The abuse of Propofol can lead to dependence very quickly and addiction to the powerful anesthetic can be debilitating requiring professional treatment to overcome use.

The abuse of Propofol has been going on for several years now and among those abusing the drug are professionals in the field of healthcare which appears to be increasing according to recent reports. Data was analyzed by researches that came from an addiction center that specializes in treating health care professionals with substance abuse problems.

Researchers identified twenty two "health care workers who were treated for propofol abuse between 1990 and 2009" according to HealthDay. Patients that were identified in this study included thirteen doctors, 8 nurses and 1 dentist. All of the nurses and most of the doctors "were anesthesia providers and had easy access to propofol". Many of the patients that abused propofol started out using the drug to "help them sleep."

Abusers of propofol were more likely to be women and many of the patients suffered from depression and had "a history of childhood sexual or physical abuse". The article goes on to say that most of the patients also had a history of substance abuse in their family "and a higher-than-expected number had family members with schizophrenia.

Medical professionals aren't the only ones that abuse propofol but they are among users with the highest rate of dependence. Propofol abuse is very serious and not an addiction a person can easily overcome without treatment whether they're a health care professional or not.

Drug Enforcement Administration
U.S. News

Topic Discussion

  1. There are no comments for this post yet. Use the form below to be the first!

Leave a comment


To protect the integrity of our site all comments are reviewed prior to being shown, we apologize for the small delay, but this brings a better experience for our readers. SPAM & rude comments are not tolerated. Using the 'Connect with Facebook' option will get your comment up faster!

Contact A Substance Abuse Counselor

We help people take the first steps toward getting help for their drug and alcohol usage and having drug-free lifestyles. To contact an alcohol/drug abuse counselor, please call 1-800-591-6474(Info iconWho Answers?).

Socialize with us
Close Icon

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by a quality treatment center within the USA.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by a licensed drug and alcohol rehab facility, a paid advertiser on

All calls are private and confidential.