General Blog

Drugs Used for MAC Anesthesia

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Monitored anesthesia care (MAC anesthesia) is a type of sedation used that requires a sedative and a local anesthetic as opposed to a general anesthetic. MAC does provide its share of benefits. For instance, patients recover from the anesthesia quicker than if they were completely sedated. Generally, MAC anesthesia is used for short, uncomplicated procedures and only uses certain medications. 

Local Anesthetics

Although the doctor may give you a combination of local anesthetics, it generally will consist of one of the following medications: lidocaine, bupivacaine, prilocaine, mepivacaine or etidocaine. Lidocaine decreases sensation or pain by prohibiting the nerve impulses that signal pain to the brain. It starts working in about 90 seconds after the injection is given and lasts 30 to 60 minutes. Bupivacaine lessens the amount of sodium that flows in and out of the nerves, which in return, decreases the transfer of nerves signals from the area. This particular local anesthetic lasts 30 to 90 minutes after the injection. Prilocaine reduces the transmission of nerve signals from the area where the doctor applies it. It begins working in less than two minutes and lasts from 30 to 90 minutes. Mepivacaine blocks nerve signal transmission for 45 to 90 minutes. Etidocaine lasts slightly longer than other locals, 120 to 180 minutes to be exact. 


Two main sedatives are given for MAC anesthesia, either propofol or midazolam. Propofol, also known by the name brand Diprivan, slows brain and nervous system activity. It helps to relax a patient prior to their treatment. This injectable drug induces sleep prior to your surgery. It’s possible to wake a person from the sleep easily. It’s possible your triglyceride level will rise because of the sedative. A rash or itching is possible. You should not drive yourself home after using this medication because it can take several hours for the drug to wear off completely. 

Midazolam is used to induce sedation prior to a surgical procedure. The patient remains conscious after taking midazolam. It classifies as a benzodiazepine. It’s known for being a fast-acting drug. It lasts a shorter amount of time than most other benzodiazepines used in a clinical setting. It stimulates the central nervous system to produce its effects. Short-term memory loss occurs from midazolam; therefore, a patient who is given this drug won’t remember the pain or discomfort from the surgery. 

Narcotic Pain Relievers

Although narcotic pain relievers aren’t known to produce a sedative effect on their own, these drugs reduce pain during the surgery. They’re able to be given at the same time as your sedative. These drugs increase your risk of vomiting or nausea during your procedure.