Propofol is a pharmaceutical used as a sedative and, in different doses, a general anesthetic. Because patients recover faster when the drug is discontinued, it has largely replaced sodium thiopental for these purposes. However, it does not alleviate pain and, as such, usually has to be used together with narcotics. It must be administered intravenously.
One of its main side effects is that the injection can be extremely painful. In many cases, lidocaine is used to dull the nerve sensations at the injection site. It also lowers blood pressure as it causes vasodilation. Use for longer than 24 hours, such as is common with patients on a ventilator, can cause a rare complication where it sets off a chain reaction of several metabolic processes which can cause organ damage, muscle damage or heart attack. It also has adverse reaction with benzodiazepines.