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Recovery from propofol anesthesia may be sped by use of common stimulant
Date:4/5/2012

The ability of the commonly used stimulant methylphenidate (Ritalin) to speed recovery from general anesthesia appears to apply both to the inhaled gas isoflurane, as previously reported, and to the intravenous drug propofol. Members of the same Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team that reported the isoflurane study are publishing similar results for propofol in the May issue of Anesthesiology, and their paper has been issued online.

"Propofol is the most widely used intravenous general anesthetic, and there is currently no way to reverse its effects," says Ken Solt, MD, of the MGH Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, the paper's corresponding author. "By finding that methylphenidate can reverse general anesthesia with propofol as well as with isoflurane, we show that it may be broadly applicable for waking patients up from different general anesthetic drugs."

The MGH team's previous study in the October 2011 issue of Anesthesiology showed that methylphenidate known to affect arousal pathways in the brain and commonly used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder significantly decreased the amount of time it took for rats to recover from isoflurane anesthesia. The current study ran very similar experiments in which propofol, which has a different mechanism of action than isoflurane, was the anesthetic agent.

In the first experiments, animals that had lost consciousness after a single dose of propofol were given intravenous methylphenidate or saline, and those receiving methylphenidate recovered almost five minutes faster than those receiving saline. Administration of methylphenidate also induced signs of arousal movement or standing up in rats receiving a constant intravenous dose of propofol, while animals administered saline remained motionless. EEG readings of the brains of animals during constant infusion of a higher propofol dose showed that methylphenidate caused br
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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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