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This is the most distinctive anesthetic agent, with the possible exception of sevoflurane. It is a milky white emulsion that is injected intravenously. This produces sleepiness and forgetfulness, although some form of opiate or other pain relief will also have to be provided. Propofol by itself isn't very good at relieving pain, and in fact may produce a slight burning sensation.

The main advantages of propofol is that it is a safe and comfortable way to produce sleep, wears off quickly after surgery, and is an anti-emetic - it reduces nausea. Some people say that it produces very good dreams.

The disadvantages are that it is expensive, and that some people cry when they wake up. Which is very disconcerting - they are not in pain and are not sad - they are just tearful.

Diprivan is the only current brand name of propofol, manufactured by Zeneca. The usual strength is 10 mg/ml, and the emulsion used in Diprivan contains about 1 kcal per ml.

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