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Desflurane (Inhalation-Systemic)

Brand Names

In the U.S.-

  • Suprane

In Canada-

  • Suprane


  • Anesthetic, general


Desflurane (DES-flure-ane) belongs to the group of medicines known as general anesthetics ( an-ess-THET-iks) . Desflurane is used to cause general anesthesia (loss of consciousness) before and during surgery. It is breathed in (inhaled). Although desflurane can be used by itself, combinations of anesthetics are often used together. This helps produce more effective anesthesia in some patients.

General anesthetics are given only by or under the immediate supervision of a medical doctor trained to use them . If you will be receiving a general anesthetic during surgery, your doctor will give you the medicine and closely follow your progress.

Desflurane is available in the following dosage form:

  • Inhalation (U.S. and Canada)

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of using the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. For desflurane, the following should be considered:

Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to an anesthetic. Also tell your doctor if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy- Desflurane has not been studied in pregnant women. It did not cause birth defects in animal studies. However, desflurane caused other unwanted effects in the animal fetus when given for many days in a row in amounts that were large enough to cause harmful effects in the mother.

Breast-feeding- Small amounts of desflurane may pass into the breast milk. Your doctor may want you to stop breast-feeding for about 24 hours after receiving the medicine.

Children- Desflurane has been tested in children. It is not used to start anesthesia in children who are awake because it causes irritation and other unwanted effects. However, when it is used to continue general anesthesia that has been started with another anesthetic, desflurane does not cause different side effects or problems in children than it does in adults.

Older adults- Desflurane has been tested and has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults. However, older people usually need smaller amounts of an anesthetic than younger people. Your doctor will take your age into account when deciding on the right amount of desflurane for you.

Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving a general anesthetic, it is especially important that your doctor know if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine or any of the following:

  • ****œStreet" drugs, such as amphetamines (****œuppers"), barbiturates (****œdowners"), cocaine, marijuana, phencyclidine (PCP or ****œangel dust"), and heroin or other narcotics-Serious, possibly fatal, side effects may occur if your doctor gives you an anesthetic without knowing that you have taken another medicine

Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of desflurane. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
  • Diseases that can cause muscle weakness, such as familial periodic paralysis, muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis, or Eaton-Lambert syndrome, or
  • Heart or blood vessel disease-The chance of side effects may be increased, but serious problems can be prevented if your doctor knows that these conditions are present before giving you an anesthetic
  • Malignant hyperthermia, during or shortly after receiving an anesthetic (history of, or family history of). Signs of malignant hyperthermia include very high fever, fast and irregular heartbeat, muscle spasms or tightness, and breathing problems-This side effect may occur again

Proper Use of This Medicine


The dose of desflurane will be different for different patients. Your doctor will decide on the right amount for you, depending on:

  • Your age.
  • Your general physical condition.
  • The kind of surgery being performed.
  • Other medicines you are taking or will receive before and during surgery.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

For patients going home within 24 hours after receiving a general anesthetic:

  • General anesthetics may cause some people to feel drowsy, tired, or weak for a while after they have been given. They may also cause problems with coordination and one's ability to think. Therefore, for about 24 hours (or longer if necessary) after receiving a general anesthetic, do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert .
  • Unless otherwise directed by your doctor or dentist, do not drink alcoholic beverages or take other CNS depressants (medicines that slow down the nervous system, possibly causing drowsiness) for about 24 hours after you have received a general anesthetic . To do so may add to the effects of the anesthetic. Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, other allergies, or colds; other sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine; prescription pain medicine or narcotics; barbiturates; medicine for seizures; and muscle relaxants.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention. While you are receiving and recovering from a general anesthetic, your health care professional will closely follow its effects. However, some effects may not be noticed until later.

The following side effects should go away as the effects of the anesthetic wear off. However, check with your doctor if any of them continue or are bothersome:

  • More common
    • Coughing;  nausea or vomiting 

  • Less common or rare
    • Dizziness;  headache;  irritated or red eyes;  nervousness and restlessness ;  sore throat 

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT