What Kind Of Anesthesia Is Used For A Colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a test which is performed by gastroenterologist, this help them to get a clear and close look into the rectum and colon. This test helps in identifying various problems related to polyps, ulcer, tumor and infection in the colon area. The procedure is not very comfortable that is why patients are given anesthesia for reducing the pain and making the patient sleep for some time.

What Kind Of Anesthesia Is Used For A Colonoscopy?

What Kind of Anesthesia Is Used For A Colonoscopy?


Midazolam, which is also called as Versed, is a part of a class of drugs commonly termed as benzodiazepines. As per NIH i.e., National Institutes of Health, midazolam is one of the safest sedative given to patient during the process of colonoscopy for lowering the sense of pain experienced by the patient and also to induce peaceful sleep. Midazolam drastically sowing down the activities of brain, this in turn enables the brain to relax and also initiate sleep. Like any other drug Midazolam also has some simple side effects such as, slow breathing, dizziness, no motion in the body etc. Out of the above side effects, slow breathing is the prominent side effect and to ensure that it should not become very severe this anesthesia is given only under expert’s supervision.

In addition, this drug also leads to uncoordinated movements of muscles, hence; it is highly advised that patient should not drive or perform any work that require concentration and steadiness. Patients should wait till the effect of anesthesia is completely worn off from the patient’s body. One very important precaution doctor suggest to patients is strictly avoid the intake of alcohol and alcohol products. This is so because the combination of alcohol and midazolam is very dangerous; it can reduce breathing to the great extent and can even lead to death.


Diprivan is a drug which is also termed as propofol by medical experts; this drug is given to patients at the time of colonoscopy for initiating loss of consciousness at the time of treatment. The society of Anesthesiologists has placed this drug in special category because it can be used only under the supervision of experienced anesthesiologists that too only in those clinics, which are equipped with resuscitation equipment. The effect of this drug last for very less duration, hence’ doctors supervision is a must to know how much dose should be given to the patient and when the repeat the dose. Diprivan has some serious side effects and to eliminate the risk factor the above precautions are prescribed.

Some of the common side effects of Diprivan are:

  • Impaired Reflexes/Thinking
  • Low/High Blood Pressure
  • Slow Breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

It is strictly advised not to drive or work on heavy machinery at least until 24 hours after the procedure is done. Also, intake of any other medication is also restricted to avoid any serious after-effect that can even lead to the death of the individual.


Meperidine also called as Demerol in medical terminology is a pain relief drug that helps in treating low to moderate pain. This drug is a part of a special class of medication called as narcotic pain relievers. Meperidine is extremely useful during colonoscopy as it helps in causing sleepiness and body relaxation during the entire procedure. Like the above two anesthesia drugs this drug also has some side effects, which are as follows:

  • Weakness
  • Constipation
  • Sleepiness
  • Slow Breathing
  • Fainting

Patient who are already suffering breathing disorder such as asthma, sleep apnea and COPD, in them the drug is given with utmost care and under expert’s supervision. Patients are strictly advised not to take alcohol for at least 24 hours after the test, because alcohol can react with Meperidine and the effects are very serious, which can even lead to death.

It is not mandatory that all types of anesthesia will have similar impact on all type of patients; it may differ depending on patient’s condition and health status.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 17, 2018

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