Numbing substance used to ease pain and/or sedate. Examples of anaesthetics include ether, nitrous oxide, morphine and laughing gas. Applied locally, it removes pain and indeed, all sensation. Applied generally, it induces unconsciousness.

George Bernard Shaw wrote that "alcohol is the anaesthetic by which we endure the operation of life."


Brand/Generic Drug Names

droperidol, fentanyl, ketamine, midazolam, thiopental, propofol, lidocaine, procaine, tetracaine, ropivacaine
Common uses
General: premedicate for surgery, induce and maintain general anesthesia
Local: local anesthesia for procedures
General: acts on central nervous system to produce tranquilization and sleep before procedures
Local: inhibits conduction of nerve impulses from sensory nerves
Class contraindications
cerebrovascular accident, increased intracranial pressure, severe hypertension, cardiac decompensation
Class precautions
General: elderly, cerebrovascular disease, renal disease, liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, children under 2 yrs Local: pregnancy
MAOIs, phenothiazines, tricyclics may cause severe hyper/hypotension in combination with local anesthetics
Central nervous system depressants potentiate anesthetics
Adverse Reactions
dystonia, akathisia, flexion of arms, fine tremors, drowsiness, restlessness, hypotension, chills, respiratory depression, laryngospasm
Additional Information
Assess vital signs every 10 min during intravenous administration, every 30 min after intramuscular injection
Administer anticholinergic preoperatively to decrease secretions
Ensure resuscitation equipment is readily available
Provide quiet recovery environment to decrease psychotic symptoms
Evaluate therapeutic response: anesthesia, decreased pain
Date of most recent Update
August 06, 2002
Further information is available in the writeup for the specific name(s) of this medication class

An`aes*thet"ic (#), a. Med. (a)

Capable of rendering insensible; as, anaesthetic agents.


Characterized by, or connected with, insensibility; as, an anaesthetic effect or operation.


© Webster 1913.

An`aes*thet"ic, n. Med.

That which produces insensibility to pain, as chloroform, ether, etc.


© Webster 1913.

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