If Michael was indeed taking Propofol to help him sleep, as some reports indicate, it would have been a serious misuse of the drug. Common as an anesthetic for colonoscopies and plastic surgery, Propofol is given intravenously and works quickly and safely – it slips patients into a deep sleep as soon as the IV is put in, but allows them to wake up easily once the IV is removed.
The powerful anesthetic is considered a clean drug, meaning that it clears the system more quickly than other anesthetics such as sodium pentothal, which tends to circulate into the blood stream once the infusion is stopped, prolonging the patient’s drowsiness.
Propofol "is short-acting: quick to sleep and quick to wake-up. It’s a wonderful, wonderful drug," says Dr. Barry L. Friedberg, an associate professor of anesthesia at UC Irvine. "People feel refreshed afterward. They don’t feel like they’ve just had surgery." Photo: Flynet Pictures