The trial of Michael Jackson's physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, has raised questions about a common surgical anesthetic drug called propofol.
Dr. Murray is on trial for involunatry manslaughter, the charge being that Murray used propofol to help Jackson sleep every night for more than two months, and that Murray's negligence led to or contributed to Jackson's death. The iconic performer died from an overdose of the drug combined with sedatives.
The defense maintains that Jackson caused his own death by ingesting sedatives and propofol while the doctor was out of the room. (However, it is generally considered negligence in medicine to allow controlled drugs such as this to be used by anyone besides a doctor.)
Regardless of how the trial concludes, eyes are now on propofol. Not the eyes of doctors, but of everyday, non-medical people who are hearing about the drug for the first time.
Even people who may have been given the drug without realizing it.
"If you've had a cosmetic procedure, you most likely received propofol," explains Arthur W. Perry, M.D., F.A.C.S., YouBeauty Cosmetic Surgery Expert. Propofol is "great for outpatient procedures because it's a quick in, quick out drug. You can go home and function without needing days in the hospital to recuperate from the 'drugged up' feelng that you would get from the older drugs."
In 2010, nearly 300,000 women had their breasts enlarged, which is the most common cosmetic surgery procedure. Rhinoplasties are the second most popular (among women), followed by procedures to liposuction, eyelid reshaping and “tummy tucks.”
That's a lot of people (likely) using propofol with success. "We [plastic surgeons] love it because it's extremely safe when administered in the proper environment by the proper people with the proper equipment," continues Perry.
He also explains that because it works so quickly, the drug can be found in operating rooms and intensive care units, and rarely in other parts of the hospital. The fact that Jackson had it in his house (but without the right precautions like resuscitation equipment and anesthesia monitoring standards) right away exposes the extremely rare conditions of his death-by-propofol.
Alhough a normal patient has nothing to fear from propofol being administered by a properly trained professional, propofol does have a (small) history of addiction by those who have access to it. "There have been cases where anesthesiologists have become addicted to propofol," says Michael Roizen, M.D., chief wellness officier at the Cleveland Clinic, YouBeauty co-founder, an co-author of 15 papers on propofol. "It gives a euphoric orgasmic response to some."
If access is no problem, neither is self-dosing. "If you can administer heroin, you can give yourself propofol," says Roizen.
Even with that sidenote, rest assured that if you go in for a procedure, there is nothing to fear from propofol. "As a doctor, I worry that the public will fear propofol because they will associate it as the drug that killed Michael Jackson," says Perry. "It's even possible that a legislature will make it harder to get, as a knee-jerk reaction to public opinion. That is the wrong reaction. If you have a procedure, and it could be a colonoscopy or having your wisdom teeth out, it doesn't have to be a face lift, you want propofol."
Adds Roizen: "You want it administered by trained people in the right setting, who have the proper monitoring and resuscitation equipment, and who have the right people around to help if a problem develops."
It's up to you to be a smart patient and ask about these parameters next time you go in for a procedure.
Get some inspiration from these ladies and learn to appreciate your behind.
Say "goodbye" to winter dryness and get your skin ready for the sunny days ahead!
From cave paintings to Kim Kardashian, a review of the bright side and the dark side of the backside.
Could you boycott beauty for a year? This author did.
Return to the Mobile Site