This page contains brief details about the drug , it's indication, dosage & administaration, mechanism of action, related brands with strength, warnings and common side effects.

Background and Date of Approval

The FDA approved propofol for medical use on 02/23/2001 as general anesthesia.

Mechanism of Action of undefined

The action of propofol, like all general anesthetics, needs to be better understood. However, it is thought to produce loss of consciousness by potentiating the actions of certain brain chemicals (neurotransmitter GABA) through the specific receptors (ligand-gated GABA A receptors) and decreasing the flow of chloride ions across the nerve cells required to maintain alertness.

Uses of undefined

Propofol injection is used to cause partial or complete reversible loss of consciousness (adult or child over the age of 1 month) so that surgical procedures can be performed. It can also be used to induce sleep in patients(16 years or older) receiving artificial respiration in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

undefined Drug administaration and Dosage available

Propofol is available in two strengths: 10ml and 20ml vials.  It is injected into your vein, usually in the back of your hand or forearm.  Your doctor will decide the most suitable dosage based on your disease condition, age, and physical circumstances.

Warnings, Precautions and Side Effects of undefined


Do not take this medication if you are allergic to propofol, its ingredient, peanuts, or soya, as it contains soya oil. Before taking this medication, please inform your doctor, anesthetist, or nurse if you have a history of seizures, high blood fat levels, fat metabolism issues, dehydration, or any other health conditions related to your heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, or if you have experienced prolonged illness or have been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease. Sharing this information with your doctor ensures your treatment plan is tailored to your unique medical needs and safety.


Regarding pregnancy, Propofol can potentially harm the baby and should only be used if deemed necessary by your doctor. Inform your doctor if you're pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, as it can be excreted in breast milk and affect the baby. Be cautious with lung conditions, and inform your doctor if you have active lung disease. In rare cases, it may affect the liver, so discuss any liver problems with your doctor. Avoid alcohol while using propofol, and refrain from driving or operating machinery until the sedative effect disappears. Also, inform your doctor if you are taking other medications, particularly the antibiotic rifampicin (used for tuberculosis).

Side Effects

Serious adverse reactions to propofol may include sudden allergic responses, characterized by symptoms such as wheezing, difficulty in breathing, swelling of the eyelids, face, or lips, as well as rash or itching, especially when affecting the entire body. Additionally, stress cardiomyopathy may manifest with chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, or an irregular heartbeat, particularly in high-stress situations. If you experience any serious or unusual reactions, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention.

The more common side effects are pain at the injection site, low blood pressure, alterations in breathing patterns, slow heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, headache, and, in children, withdrawal symptoms like unusual behavior, sweating, shaking, and anxiety, along with skin flushing.

Word Of Advice

Please inform your doctor if you are on a sodium-controlled diet or have allergies to peanuts or soya, as propofol injection contains these components. If the injection is administered over extended periods in intensive care, your doctor may prescribe a zinc supplement to prevent a decrease in your zinc levels. Before starting the treatment, it is essential to inform your doctor if you are allergic to any of these components or have any concerns.

It is essential to trust your medical team and communicate openly with them. Propofol is a powerful anesthetic used to induce and maintain anesthesia, and while it is generally safe, it is crucial to disclose your complete medical history, allergies, and any medications you are taking to your healthcare provider. Follow their instructions diligently, and inform them about any unusual sensations or discomfort during the procedure. It is natural to feel apprehensive, but focusing on the expertise of your medical team and openly communicating your concerns with your doctor can help ensure a safer and more comfortable experience. 

Frequently Asked Question


  1. Mercury Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Electronic medicines compendium (EMC), [Revised on April 2022], [Accessed on 27th Sep 2023],
  2. Fresenius Kabi USA, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), [Revised on Aug 2022], [Accessed on 27th Sep 2023],
  3. KD Tripathi, Essentials of Medical Pharmacology, Drugs acting on central nervous system, 2019, 409-410
  4. Goodman & Gilman’s, The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, General Anesthetics and Therapeutic Gases, 2018, 390-391


The drug information on this page is not a substitute for medical advice. It is meant for educational purposes only. For further details, consult your doctor about your medical condition to know if you can receive this treatment.