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Generic name: propofolPROE-poe-fol ]
Brand names: Diprivan, Propoven
Drug class: General anesthetics

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 14, 2023.

What is Diprivan?

Diprivan slows the activity of your brain and nervous system.

Diprivan is used to help you relax before and during general anesthesia for surgery or other medical procedures.

Diprivan is also used to sedate a patient who is under critical care and needs a mechanical ventilator (breathing machine).


Before you receive Diprivan, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and allergies. Also make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. In some cases, you may not be able to use Diprivan.

Before receiving this medicine

You should not receive Diprivan if you are allergic to propofol.

To make sure Diprivan is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

Anesthesia medicine may affect brain development in a child under 3, or an unborn baby whose mother receives this medicine during late pregnancy. These effects may be more likely when the anesthesia is used for 3 hours or longer, or used for repeated procedures. Effects on brain development could cause learning or behavior problems later in life.

Negative brain effects from anesthesia have been seen in animal studies. However, studies in human children receiving single short uses of anesthesia have not shown a likely effect on behavior or learning. More research is needed.

In some cases, your doctor may decide to postpone a surgery or procedure based on these risks. Treatment may not be delayed in the case of life-threatening conditions, medical emergencies, or surgery needed to correct certain birth defects.

Ask your doctor for information about all medicines that will be used during your surgery or procedure. Also ask how long the procedure will last.

Propofol can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

How is Diprivan given?

Diprivan is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

You will relax and fall asleep very quickly after Diprivan 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 Diprivan.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since Diprivan is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, you are not likely to miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Since this medication is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid after receiving Diprivan?

Diprivan can cause severe drowsiness or dizziness, which may last for several hours. You will need someone to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert for at least 24 hours after you have been treated with Diprivan.

Diprivan side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any signs of an allergic reaction to Diprivan: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Tell your caregiver right away if you have:

Common Diprivan side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Dosing information

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 Diprivan 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.

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.

What other drugs will affect Diprivan?

Taking other medicines that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can worsen these effects. After you have been treated with Diprivan, ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, prescription cough medicine, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

Other drugs may interact with propofol, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.