Friday, July 3, 2009

Propofol Addiction

Michael Jackson, and celebrities in general, provide endless material for discussions about narcotic and prescription drug abuse. The recent revelation about propofol being found in MJ's house is different. First of all, propofol is not a drug you can find at your local pharmacy. It is supposed to be used only for general or monitored anesthesia by an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist. It comes only in an intravenous form. So unless MJ was adept at sticking needles in himself like a heroin addict he would need help giving it to himself. Propofol also has a very short half life; it disappears from the body quickly. That is why it is usually given as a steady infusion in the operating room to maintain anesthesia or as a bolus to induce anesthesia quickly before giving a more sustained drug, like inhalational anesthetics.

Somebody asked me yesterday whether it was possible MJ overdosed on propofol. I suppose anything is possible. But according to the coroner's report that's been released so far, there was no evidence of needle tracks on his body, which would be required to inject propofol. The toxicology reports are still pending but according to the ASA, if MJ used propofol, it will show up in the toxicology tests. If Dr. Conrad Murray, the cardiologist who found MJ's body, was giving him propofol which led to his cardiac arrest, he would have to be extraordinarily quick hiding the evidence, what with all the syringes, needles, and drugs he would have to stash before the police got there.

The questions remain. Why was propofol found inside the house that MJ was renting? Did it belong to him or to the owners of the house? Why was it even inside a private residence? Who brought it there? Was it stolen from a hospital or surgery center by a physician or nurse? When did MJ last use propofol, as he seemed to have a familiarity with its sedative effects.

So many questions still left unanswered. In the meantime, his public funeral was announced this morning. Look for another media circus in L.A. next Tuesday.

For more information about propofol and propofol addiction, visit

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