Know the basics
What is propofol used for?
Propofol (Diprivan) slows the activity of your brain and nervous system.
Propofol is used to help you relax before and during general anesthesia for surgery or other medical procedures. It is also used in critically ill patients who require a breathing tube connected to a ventilator (a machine that moves air in and out of the lungs when a person cannot breathe on their own).
How should I take propofol?
Propofol is given as an injection through a needle placed into a vein. You will receive this injection in a hospital or surgical setting.
You will relax and fall asleep very quickly after propofol is injected.
Your breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels, kidney function, and other vital signs will be watched closely while you are under the effects of propofol.
How do I store propofol?
Propofol is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store propofol in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of propofol that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.
You should not flush propofol down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Know the precautions & warnings
What should I know before using propofol?
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to propofol: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Tell your caregiver right away if you have:
- a light-headed feeling (like you might pass out) even after feeling awake;
- weak or shallow breathing; or
- severe pain or discomfort where the injection is given.
Common propofol side effects may include:
- mild itching or rash;
- fast or slow heart rate; or
- slight burning or stinging around the IV needle.
Is it safe to take propofol during pregnancy or breast-feeding?
There isn’t enough information about the safety of using this medication during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication.
Know the side effects
What are the side effects of propofol?
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
- pain, swelling, blisters, or skin changes where the medicine was injected;
- seizure (convulsions);
- weak or shallow breathing; or
- fast or slow heart rate.
Less serious side effects may include:
- slight burning or stinging around the IV needle;
- mild itching or skin rash;
- numbness or tingly feeling;
- confusion, agitation, anxiety;
- muscle pain; or
- discolored urine.
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Know the interactions
What drugs may interact with propofol?
Propofol may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
Does food or alcohol interact with propofol?
Propofol may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.
What health conditions may interact with propofol?
Propofol may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.
Understand the dosage
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.
What is the dose of propofol for an adult?
Usual Adult Dose for Anesthesia:
Less than 55 years: Anesthetic Induction: 40 mg IV every 10 seconds until induction onset. Total dose required is 2 to 2.5 mg/kg with a maximum of 250 mg.
Less than 55 years: Maintenance of Anesthesia: IV infusion: 100 to 200 mcg/kg/min. Maximum dose 20,000 mcg/min. Maximum dose 10,000 mcg/min.
Intermittent bolus: 20 to 50 mg as needed.
Cardiac Anesthesia: Induction: 20 mg every 10 seconds until induction onset (0.5 to 1.5 mg/kg).
Maintenance: Opioids are generally combined with propofol for maintenance of anesthesia.
100 to 150 mcg/kg/min (primary propofol)
50 to 100 mcg/kg/min (secondary propofol).
Maximum dose of 15,000 mcg/min.
Neurosurgery: Induction: 20 mg every 10 seconds until induction onset (1 to 2 mg/kg).
Maintenance: 100 to 200 mcg/kg/min with a maximum dose of 20,000 mcg/min.
Intermittent IV bolus doses of 0.3 to 0.7 mg/kg mg may be given for maintenance of anesthesia while on nitrous oxide.
ICU Sedation: Initial Continuous IV: 5 mcg/kg/min for intubated mechanically ventilated patients.
Maintenance Continuous IV: May increase in 5 to 10 mcg/kg/min increments every 5 minutes until the desired level of sedation is achieved. Typical maintenance range is 5 to 50 mcg/kg/min.
Bolus administration of 10 to 20 mg should only be used to rapidly increase depth of sedation in patients where hypotension is not likely to occur.
MAC sedation: Initial Continuous IV: 100 to 150 mcg/kg/min for 3 to 5 minutes or
Slow IV: 0.5 mg/kg over 3 to 5 minutes followed by:
Maintenance IV infusion: 25 to 75 mcg/kg/min (preferred) or
incremental bolus doses of 10 to 20 mg.
Usual Geriatric Dose for Anesthesia:
Elderly, debilitated, or ASA III/IV patients.
Induction: 20 mg every 10 seconds until induction onset (1-1.5 mg/kg). Maximum dose 200 mg
Maintenance: 50-100 mcg/kg/min.
MAC sedation: The maintenance dose is usually 80% of the usual adult dose.
What is the dose of propofol for a child?
Usual Pediatric Dose for Anesthesia:
3 years to 16 years: Induction: 2.5 to 3.5 mg/kg over 20 to 30 seconds.
Maintenance: 125 to 300 mcg/kg/min.
How is propofol available?
Propofol is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
Injection: 1% (10 mg/mL)
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of propofol, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Propofol. https://www.drugs.com/propofol.html. Accessed July 14, 2016.
Propofol. http://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00818. Accessed July 14, 2016.
Propofol. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/drug-propofol/article_em.htm. Accessed July 14, 2016.
Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017