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Types of Anesthetics for a Colonoscopy

by
author image Esther Kinuthia RN BSN BA
Esther Kinuthia is a registered nurse with extensive experience in health and wellness. She holds a B.S. in nursing, B.A in psychology and has worked for more than ten years in the health-care field. She enjoys writing articles on a variety of topics for the Internet. Her work has been published in various websites.
Types of Anesthetics for a Colonoscopy
Anesthetics used during a colonoscopy Photo Credit drug image by Zbigniew Nowak from <a href="http://www.fotolia.com">Fotolia.com</a>

According to the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, a colonoscopy is a test that enables a gastroenterologist to examine the inner lining of the colon and rectum. A colonoscopy helps detect colon problems such as colon tumors, colon polyps, colon ulcers and inflammation. A colonoscopy can be an uncomfortable procedure and anesthetics are used to cause sleepiness and loss of sensation of pain.

Midazolam

Midazolam, also known as Versed, belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. According to the National Institutes of Health, midazolam is administered during a colonoscopy to induce sleep and cause loss of sensation of pain. Midazolam works by slowing brain activity to allow relaxation and sleep. Common side effects of midazolam include shallow breathing, drowsiness and dizziness. Midazolam may cause difficulties in breathing and is only used under close medical supervision. Midazolam also causes uncoordinated muscle movements and impaired judgment, and patients should avoid driving cars and operating machinery until after the day of the colonoscopy so as to allow the drug to wear off from the body. Patients should also avoid alcohol and products containing alcohol, as a combination of midazolam and alcohol can cause shallow breathing and death. Patients should also avoid taking drugs that slow breathing such as tranquilizers, narcotics, sedatives and muscle relaxants until 24 hours after a colonoscopy. A combination of midazolam and drugs that slow breathing can lead to apnea and death.

Diprivan

Diprivan, also known as propofol, is used to cause loss of consciousness during a colonoscopy. According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists website lifelinetomodernmedicine.com, propofol is a drug with dangerous side effects and should only be administered by an anesthesiologist and in medical facilities where resuscitation equipment is easily available. Diprivan causes a deeper level of sedation with a shorter recovery time than other sedatives used for a colonoscopy. However, Diprivan is rarely used for colonoscopy because an anesthesiologist and resuscitation equipment must be present during its use, which can be very expensive. Common side effects of Diprivan include slowed breathing, lowered blood pressure, drowsiness, dizziness and fainting, confusion, impaired reflexes and impaired thinking. Patients should avoid driving cars and operating machinery until after the day of procedure to allow Diprivan to wear off. Patients should also avoid alcohol and drugs that slow breathing such as tranquilizers, sedatives and muscle relaxants for 24 hours after a colonoscopy.

Meperidine

Meperidine, also known as Demerol, is a narcotic pain reliever used to treat mild to moderate pain. According to Drugs.com, meperidine belongs to a class of medications known as narcotic pain relievers. Meperidine is used during a colonoscopy to cause drowsiness and relaxation. Common side effects of meperidine include drowsiness, dizziness, slowed breathing, weakness, fainting and constipation. Meperidine may cause difficulties breathing, and is used with caution in patients with breathing problems such as asthma, COPD and sleep apnea. Patients should avoid alcohol and drugs that cause drowsiness for at least 24 hours after a colonoscopy. A combination of meperidine, alcohol and drugs that cause drowsiness is lethal.

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