Propofol as Anesthesia




Propofol as Anesthesia

The June 2009 death of singer Michael Jackson, and the subsequent investigation into his death, brought the use of Propofol to the public’s attention. Here are some answers to those most asked questions about this drug. If you have additional questions, be sure to discuss them with your physician.

What is Diprivan or Propofol?

Diprivan, also known as Propofol, is an anesthetic typically used to produce general anesthesia or sedation. It can be used in surgical areas or intensive care units.

Can someone use Propofol in their home?

It is an extremely powerful drug that is only available to medical personnel. There is no possible reason for this drug to be prescribed for home use.

Who should administer Propofol?

Propofol should be administered by an anesthesiologist.

What are the side effects of Propofol?

Propofol is a powerful drug that depresses respiratory and cardiac function.

Does Propofol cause pain?

The drug can only be administered with an IV. Propofol does burn a bit when being administered. Often the drug Lidocaine is used to reduce the pain associated with the Propofol injection.

Does Propofol help you sleep?

Propofol produces general anesthesia which is a different state than normal, restful sleep.

What does “milk of anesthesia” refer to?

Propofol resembles milk in color and in slang terms is sometimes called “milk of anesthesia”.  

For more information about Propofol or anesthesia, please ask your physician or email ASA at

Helpful Links

What is Anesthesiology

Total care of the surgical patient before, during and after surgery.


Anesthesia Topics Quick Links

Choose a topic:

Featured Video:

Smoking and Surgery
Learn why stopping smoking before surgery can have an impact on your outcome.

Play Video

In Case of Emergency

Download, print, fill out, and keep this checklist. It just may save your life.


Come Prepared

Ask your anesthesiologist questions about what to expect before, during, and after your procedure.


The ASA does not employ physician anesthesiologists on staff and cannot respond to patient inquiries regarding specific medical conditions or anesthesia administration. Please direct any questions related to anesthetics, procedures or treatment outcomes to the patient’s anesthesiologist or general physician.