Denver Post/Associated Press, October 21, 2011
Doctors sometimes call the anesthesia drug by its nickname—milk of amnesia. Patients are calling it the "Michael Jackson drug." Ever since propofol was blamed in the singer's death, patients who seldom asked or cared about what kind of sedation they were getting were suddenly peppering their doctors with questions about the potent drug. "You won't believe how many people with their eyes wide open ask me: 'Are you going to give me the Michael Jackson drug?' They're scared to death," said H.A. Tillmann Hein, MD, president of the Texas Society of Anesthesiologists. While some initially balk at going under, fearing they will end up like Jackson, they come around after Hein explains that propofol, widely used for surgeries and other procedures for more than 20 years, is safe when used by a trained professional in a hospital or clinic. Propofol gained notoriety in 2009 after an autopsy found Jackson died of an overdose. Prosecutors have accused his personal physician, Conrad Murray, MD, of giving the 50-year-old pop icon a lethal dose at the singer's rented Los Angeles mansion.