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Diprivan Side Effects Center

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

Last reviewed on RxList 9/28/2016

Diprivan (propofol) Injectable Emulsion is a sedative-hypnotic agent used to help you relax before and during general anesthesia for surgery or other medical procedure. It is also used in critically ill patients who require a breathing tube connected to a ventilator. Diprivan is available in generic form. Common side effects of Diprivan include:

  • nausea,
  • cough,
  • burning or stinging around the IV needle,
  • itching or skin rash,
  • numbness or tingly feeling,
  • confusion,
  • agitation,
  • anxiety,
  • muscle pain, or
  • discolored urine.

Tell your doctor if you have serious side effect of Diprivan including:

  • injection site reactions (pain, swelling, blisters, or skin changes),
  • seizures (convulsions),
  • weak or shallow breathing, or
  • fast or slow heart rate.

Diprivan is administered under a physician's supervision. Dose depends on the condition being treated and the patient's weight. Diprivan may interact with chloral hydrate, droperidol, barbiturates, diazepam or similar medicines, or narcotics. Tell your doctor all medications you use. Diprivan is not expected to be harmful to a fetus. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before you are treated with this drug. This medication can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Our Diprivan (propofol) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is Patient Information in Detail?

Easy-to-read and understand detailed drug information and pill images for the patient or caregiver from Cerner Multum.

Diprivan in Detail - Patient Information: Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • pain, swelling, blisters, or skin changes where the medicine was injected;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • weak or shallow breathing; or
  • fast or slow heart rate.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • nausea;
  • cough;
  • slight burning or stinging around the IV needle;
  • mild itching or skin rash;
  • numbness or tingly feeling;
  • confusion, agitation, anxiety;
  • muscle pain; or
  • discolored urine.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Diprivan (Propofol)

What is Prescribing information?

The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.

Diprivan FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
(Adverse Reactions)



Adverse event information is derived from controlled clinical trials and worldwide marketing experience. In the description below, rates of the more common events represent US/Canadian clinical study results. Less frequent events are also derived from publications and marketing experience in over 8 million patients; there are insufficient data to support an accurate estimate of their incidence rates. These studies were conducted using a variety of premedicants, varying lengths of surgical/diagnostic procedures, and various other anesthetic/sedative agents. Most adverse events were mild and transient.

Anesthesia And MAC Sedation In Adults

The following estimates of adverse events for DIPRIVAN Injectable Emulsion include data from clinical trials in general anesthesia/MAC sedation (N=2889 adult patients). The adverse events listed below as probably causally related are those events in which the actual incidence rate in patients treated with DIPRIVAN Injectable Emulsion was greater than the comparator incidence rate in these trials. Therefore, incidence rates for anesthesia and MAC sedation in adults generally represent estimates of the percentage of clinical trial patients which appeared to have probable causal relationship.

The adverse experience profile from reports of 150 patients in the MAC sedation clinical trials is similar to the profile established with DIPRIVAN Injectable Emulsion during anesthesia (see below). During MAC sedation clinical trials, significant respiratory events included cough, upper airway obstruction, apnea, hypoventilation, and dyspnea.

Anesthesia In Pediatric Patients

Generally the adverse experience profile from reports of 506 DIPRIVAN Injectable Emulsion pediatric patients from 6 days through 16 years of age in the US/Canadian anesthesia clinical trials is similar to the profile established with DIPRIVAN Injectable Emulsion during anesthesia in adults (see Pediatric percentages [Peds %] below). Although not reported as an adverse event in clinical trials, apnea is frequently observed in pediatric patients.

ICU Sedation In Adults

The following estimates of adverse events include data from clinical trials in ICU sedation (N=159 adult patients). Probably related incidence rates for ICU sedation were determined by individual case report form review. Probable causality was based upon an apparent dose response relationship and/or positive responses to rechallenge. In many instances the presence of concomitant disease and concomitant therapy made the causal relationship unknown. Therefore, incidence rates for ICU sedation generally represent estimates of the percentage of clinical trial patients which appeared to have a probable causal relationship.

Incidence greater than 1% - Probably Causally Related

  Anesthesia/MAC Sedation ICU Sedation
Cardiovascular: Bradycardia Bradycardia
Arrhythmia [Peds: 1.2%]  
Tachycardia Nodal [Peds: 1.6%]
Hypotension* [Peds: 17%] (see also CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY) Decreased Cardiac Output
  Hypertension [Peds: 8%] Hypotension 26%
Central Nervous System: Movement* [Peds: 17%]  
Injection Site: Burning/Stinging or Pain, 17.6% [Peds: 10%]  
Metabolic/Nutritional:   Hyperlipemia*
Respiratory: Apnea (see also CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY) Respiratory Acidosis During Weaning*
Skin and Appendages: Rash [Peds: 5%] Pruritus [Peds: 2%]  
Events without an * or % had an incidence of 1% to 3%
*Incidence of events 3% to 10%

Incidence less than 1% - Probably Causally Related

  Anesthesia/MAC Sedation ICU Sedation
Body as a Whole: Anaphylaxis/Anaphylactoid Reaction Perinatal Disorder
[Premature Ventricular Contractions]
[ECG Abnormal]
[Arrhythmia Atrial]
[Extremities Pain]
[Anticholinergic Syndrome]
Cardiovascular: Premature Atrial Contractions Syncope  
Central Nervous System: Hypertonia/Dystonia, Paresthesia Agitation
Digestive: [Hypersalivation]
Hemic/Lymphatic: [Leukocytosis]  
Injection Site: [Phlebitis]
Metabolic: [Hypomagnesemia]  
Musculoskeletal: Myalgia  
Nervous: [Dizziness]
Respiratory: Wheezing
Decreased Lung Function
Skin and Appendages: Flushing, Pruritus  
Special Senses: Amblyopia
[Vision Abnormal]
Urogenital: Cloudy Urine Green Urine

Incidence less than 1% - Causal Relationship Unknown

  Anesthesia/MAC Sedation ICU Sedation
Body as a Whole: Asthenia, Awareness, Chest Pain, Extremities Pain, Fever, Increased Drug Effect, Neck Rigidity/Stiffness, Trunk Pain Fever, Sepsis, Trunk Pain, Whole Body Weakness
Cardiovascular: Arrhythmia, Atrial Fibrillation, Atrioventricular Heart Block, Bigeminy, Bleeding, Bundle Branch Block, Cardiac Arrest, ECG Abnormal, Edema, Extrasystole, Heart Block, Hypertension, Myocardial Infarction, Myocardial Ischemia, Premature Ventricular Contractions, ST Segment Depression, Supraventricular Tachycardia, Tachycardia, Ventricular Fibrillation Arrhythmia, Atrial Fibrillation, Bigeminy, Cardiac Arrest, Extrasystole, Right Heart Failure, Ventricular Tachycardia
Central Nervous System: Abnormal Dreams, Agitation, Amorous Behavior, Anxiety, Bucking/Jerking/Thrashing, Chills/Shivering/Clonic/Myoclonic Movement, Combativeness, Confusion, Delirium, Depression, Dizziness, Emotional Lability, Euphoria, Fatigue, Hallucinations, Headache, Hypotonia, Hysteria, Insomnia, Moaning, Neuropathy, Opisthotonos, Rigidity, Seizures, Somnolence, Tremor, Twitching Chills/Shivering, Intracranial Hypertension, Seizures, Somnolence, Thinking Abnormal
Digestive: Cramping, Diarrhea, Dry Mouth, Enlarged Parotid, Nausea, Swallowing, Vomiting Ileus, Liver Function Abnormal
Hematologic/ Lymphatic: Coagulation Disorder, Leukocytosis  
Injection Site: Hives/Itching, Phlebitis, Redness/Discoloration  
Metabolic/ Nutritional: Hyperkalemia, Hyperlipemia BUN Increased, Creatinine Increased, Dehydration, Hyperglycemia, Metabolic Acidosis, Osmolality Increased
Respiratory: Bronchospasm, Burning in Throat, Cough, Dyspnea, Hiccough, Hyperventilation, Hypoventilation, Hypoxia, Laryngospasm, Pharyngitis, Sneezing, Tachypnea, Upper Airway Obstruction Hypoxia
Skin and Appendages: Conjunctival Hyperemia, Diaphoresis, Rash
Special Senses: Diplopia, Ear Pain, Eye Pain,  
  Nystagmus, Taste Perversion,  
Urogenital: Oliguria, Urine Retention Kidney Failure

Drug Abuse And Dependence

There are reports of the abuse of propofol for recreational and other improper purposes, which have resulted in fatalities and other injuries. Instances of self-administration of DIPRIVAN Injectable Emulsion by health care professionals have also been reported, which have resulted in fatalities and other injuries. Inventories of DIPRIVAN Injectable Emulsion should be stored and managed to prevent the risk of diversion, including restriction of access and accounting procedures as appropriate to the clinical setting.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Diprivan (Propofol)

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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