Anesthesiology/sedation and driving

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Question
I have always been led to believe that after receiving sedation one must refrain from driving for 24 hours, making legal decisions, etc.

But while browsing the web, I saw a page that promised patients could drive home after receiving sedation at a certain facility.  Here is the link: http://www.womenscenter.com/advanced_IV_sedation.html.  The page does not appear to state what medications are being used.  

How could this be safe?  Which medications might they be using? Remifentanil, perhaps?

Answer
I have no idea what they are using but the reason for the restriction about driving and making important decisions is still a safer option. The reason those restrictions were put in place is because many of the medicines we use cause amnesia (even up to 24 hours later). The primary meds that do this are Midazolam and Propofol. As for driving, your reaction time is slower plus the residual effects of the anesthetics might cause you to be drowsy. Even if they give you Propofol or Remifentil (both very short acting), I would still be hesitant to drive or make important decisions. Before you think about doing such things, find out exactly what medicines they use and then pose the question again. I would also find out if they are using a board certified anesthesiologist or not. Frankly, by putting the line on their website "...For the additional fee of $25.00 (Twenty-five Dollars), we can provide the new advanced medication..." makes me wonder about their true motives.

Ronald Levy, MD
Professor of Anesthesiology
UTMB-Galveston  

Anesthesiology

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Ronald Levy, M.D.

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Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. I am a board certified anesthesiologist who can answer all questions related to any type of Anesthesia with the exception of Pain Management.

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