Central nervous system

Anaesthesia is induced within 20-40 s after i.v. administration in otherwise healthy young adults. Transfer from blood to the sites of action in the brain is slower than with thiopental, and there is a delay in disappearance of the eyelash reflex, normally used as a sign of unconsciousness after administration of barbiturate anaesthetic agents. Overdosage of propofol, with exaggerated side-effects, may result if this clinical sign is used; loss of verbal contact is a better end-point. EEG frequency decreases, and amplitude increases. Propofol reduces the duration of seizures induced by ECT in humans. However, there have been reports of convulsions following the use of propofol and it is recommended that caution be exercised in administration of propofol to epileptic patients. Normally cerebral metabolic rate, CBF and intracranial pressure are reduced.

Recovery of consciousness is rapid and there is a minimal 'hangover' effect even in the immediate postanaesthetic period.

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