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Propofol is a phenol derivative used for the induction and maintenance of intravenous general anaesthesia. It may also be used for the sedation of ventilated patients on ITU, for short procedures, or for day-case surgery.

Advantages include:

  • rapid onset
  • rapid recovery due to rapid redistribution within the body compartments - half life is about four hours - this also allows it to be used for IV maintenance instead of a volatile agent
  • less "hangover" effect


  • pain on intravenous injection
  • dose-related cardiorespiratory depression, especially in the hypovolaemic patient or the patient receiving vagotonic drugs

Last reviewed 01/2018