Etomidate Anesthetic Uses Side Effects Dosage

Etomidate Anesthetic Uses Side Effects Dosage

Etomidate: A Powerful Anesthetic

Etomidate is a medication used to induce and maintain general anesthesia during short surgical procedures. It acts rapidly, with effects lasting 3 to 5 minutes. Etomidate has a hypnotic/sedative effect and enhances the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter.

Etomidate also affects the extrapyramidal motor system, causing involuntary muscle jerks or twitches. It does not impact heart function or circulation. Additionally, etomidate can lower cortisol levels and is sometimes used off-label to treat Cushing syndrome.

Uses of etomidate include:

  • Inducing general anesthesia
  • Supplementing other anesthetic agents during short procedures
  • Treating Cushing syndrome (off-label)
  • Providing sedation (off-label)

Important Warnings

  • Avoid etomidate if you have a hypersensitivity to it or its components.
  • Qualified professionals should administer etomidate and manage any complications that arise during anesthesia.
  • Long-term use of etomidate can suppress adrenal gland function and production of cortisol and aldosterone, which regulates blood pressure.
  • Etomidate is not recommended for children under 10 years of age.

Possible Side Effects

Common side effects of etomidate include pain at the injection site and muscle twitches. Serious side effects may include heart symptoms, severe headaches, nervous system reactions, and eye problems.

If you experience any serious side effects while using this drug, seek medical attention immediately.

Recommended Dosage


  • General Anesthesia Induction: 0.2-0.6 mg/kg intravenous administration
  • Treating Cushing Syndrome: 0.2-0.6 mg/kg intravenous infusion
  • Sedation: 0.1 mg/kg intravenous bolus


  • General Anesthesia Induction: 0.2-0.6 mg/kg intravenous administration (for children above 10 years)
  • Sedation: 0.1-0.4 mg/kg intravenous bolus
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Overdose of etomidate can cause a drop in blood pressure. In case of overdose, discontinue the drug, maintain airway, provide oxygen, and assist ventilation if necessary.

Drug Interactions

Tell your doctor about all medications you are taking to avoid any potential drug interactions. Etomidate has no known severe interactions with other drugs.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Etomidate can cause fetal harm, so it is not recommended for use during labor and delivery. Its presence in breastmilk is uncertain, so use caution if breastfeeding.

By considering the information provided, you can make an informed decision about the use of etomidate.


Etomidate is a powerful anesthetic used to induce and maintain general anesthesia during short surgical procedures. It has a hypnotic/sedative effect but does not relieve pain. Common side effects include injection site pain and muscle twitches. Etomidate should be administered by qualified professionals, and its long-term use can suppress adrenal gland function. Use caution during pregnancy and breastfeeding.


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