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Doctors Discuss Dangers of Diprivan

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, July 09, 2009 10:37 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Diprivan, Propofol, Michael Jackson, Drug Abuse, Prescription Medication, Sedatives

Doctors discuss the dangers of the sedative Diprivan, found in the Michael Jackson home.  

Jackson Doctor Talks to CNN About Diprivan



IMAGE SOURCE: CNN/ Larry King talks to Dr. Arnie Klein Wednesday, July 8, 2009/ CNN Web site 


Appearing on CNN’s Larry King Wednesday night, dermatologist, Dr. Arnie Klein, talked about his patient, Michael Jackson, and drug use by the star.

Dr. Klein had a long-term relationship with Jackson, having treated him for lupus erythematosus, which appeared as a red butterfly rash and a crust on his scalp, as well as the skin condition vitiligo.

As to drug use, Dr. Klein said he had given Jackson Demerol “on occasion” to allow him to sleep. Jackson had beaten a drug addiction at one time, but Klein says he had a huge tolerance for the drug, Diprivan, generally administered by anesthesiologists in a surgical setting.

King:  “What would it be doing in someone’s house?”

Klein: “I have no idea. And that’s what doesn’t make sense to me.”

Short acting, a patient goes to sleep and Diprivan passes through the body quickly, Dr. Klein told King.  How do you get it outside of a hospital setting, asks King.  Like any dangerous substance the “rich and famous can buy anything they want to buy” said Klein.

Klein: “I knew at one point that he was using Diprivan when he was on tour in Germany. And so he was using it, with an anesthesiologist, to go to sleep at night. And I told him he was absolutely insane. I said you have to understand that this drug, you can't repeatedly take. “

King: “How could a reasonable anesthesiologist give that to someone other than prior to surgery?”

Klein: “Because I have to tell you, there are certain people in this world who are not reasonable.”

King: “Are you surprised Diprivan was found in his home, supposedly?”

Klein: “I am very shocked by it.”

King: “Did you ever see any IV type equipment in his house?”

Klein: “Never.”

Dr. Klein says he was never asked to administer Diprivan, which he said he wouldn’t as a dermatologist.

At least five doctors under investigation in connection with Jackson’s death, some of whom went on tour with the singer.    


Diprivan is not approved as a sleep aid by the FDA. CNN discusses its use in office procedures, urology, dentistry, gynecology and colonoscopies where it is thought effective because of the quick recovery time.

A Mayo Clinic study in 2008 found Diprivan use associated with a higher risk of cardiac arrest and deaths in patients with a condition known as refractory status epilepticus, prolonged seizures that do not respond to initial treatment. Mayo Clinic no longer uses Diprivan to treat RSE patients.

Diprivan, also known by its generic name propofol, was allegedly found in the Jackson house has a 100 percent death rate for most abusers says Dr. Paul Wischmeyer of the University of Colorado, to the New York Daily News.  “A cc too much of this drug can change you from being high to being dead. There is no margin for error for this drug. It kills people.”

Dr. Wischmeyer led a 2006 study of Propofol after a colleague doctor died from the drug.   Looking at 126 teaching hospitals, he found 25 abusers among which seven had died. Among them, six were medical residents, and one was a medical assistant.  Dr. Wischmeyer says the only abusers who stand a chance of surviving are the few doctors who become addicted. 

His study found one 31-year-old doctor who began injecting himself a dozen times a day to reduce his feelings of boredom and depression. 

"That somebody would be receiving this at home, that's just unfathomable," he said.

The abusers tended to have a prior history of drug abuse, not unlike Jackson's struggle with painkillers.

"Propofol was often the final drug used in a pattern of controlled substance abuse," the study noted. "This pattern may be because of the ease of obtaining Propofol."

Despite this 2006-2007 study, the FDA did not regulate the drug. Dr. Wischmeyer believes that this tragedy should lead to regulation of Propofol.  #

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