Study Shows Increased Risk of Death in Patients Given Anesthesia Drug Etomidate April 30, 2014 Anesthesia always carries risks, but one commonly used anesthetic drug, etomidate, could be riskier than others, say dangerous drugs attorneys in Jacksonville. The widely used sedative and anesthesia drug etomidate could be placing patients at serious risk according to results of a recent study published in Anesthesia & Analgesia, the official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society. Led by Dr. Ryu Komatsu of Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic, the study assessed the risk of adverse outcomes in patients with non-critical medical conditions undergoing noncardiac surgery. Researchers compared the rate of death and cardiovascular rates in about 2,100 patients receiving etomidate for the induction of anesthesia to those in a matched group of 5,200 patients who instead received propofol, an alternative to etomidate. The results certainly are troubling. The patient group receiving etomidate had a 6.5-percent absolute risk of death within 30 days compared to a 2.5-percent risk for those receiving propofol – a 250-percent higher risk. Etomidate patients also showed a 50-percent increase in the chance they’d suffer a major cardiovascular event. It’s unclear why negative effects can take weeks to manifest. This isn’t the first time that etomidate has come under suspicion. Previous reports suggest an increased risk of death in patients receiving etomidate in emergency situations or during critical illness, particularly sepsis. Thus far, however, subsequent randomized trials failed to back up claims of a higher risk for critically ill patients and a more targeted study is under way. While the medical industry awaits results of that test and other large-scale studies of etomidate’s safety, many physicians are being urged to use already proven alternative anesthetic agents. If you or your dependent will undergo surgery, dangerous drug attorneys with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell urge you to talk with your doctor about concerns over etomidate and potential alternatives. Understand, however, that there is always a risk with any type of anesthesia or anesthetic agent – no matter the brand.