Reversal agents for anesthesia

Reversal agents are medicines that are given to counteract, or reverse, the effects of medicines used for anesthesia. They are often used to help reduce the time it takes to recover from anesthesia. Some examples include:

  • Edrophonium or neostigmine, which are used to counteract the effects of certain types of muscle relaxants.
  • Flumazenil, a reversal agent for benzodiazepine anesthetics, which cause sedation, sleepiness, forgetfulness, and unconsciousness.
  • Naloxone, which counteracts the effects of IV opioids (narcotics) that are used to relieve pain (analgesia). Naloxone must be used with care when an opioid is given for pain, because significant pain may be present when the effects of the opioid are reversed.

Last Updated: January 28, 2010

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