Ritalin May Help Wake Patients After General AnesthesiaPosted by in Anesthesiology
A new study conducted on animals suggests that Ritalin, a drug well-known as a treatment for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), may be useful in assisting patients under general anesthesia to wake up after surgical procedures. The study, which was conducted at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital and published in the journal Anesthesiology, was conducted on rats. It was found that the rats took less time to awaken than without the drug.
Currently, patients must wait until a general anesthetic wears off before they awaken. According to researchers, if the anesthesia causes a patient to stop breathing, Ritalin could potentially be used to awaken the patient and assist in restoring breathing.
Additionally, if patients awaken faster after surgery, they can cut their hospital costs and possibly be released from the hospital sooner. In some cases, it may even assist patients in recovering faster from an operation.
It is not yet known, however, if the drug will work on people in the same way that it worked on the rats. The Ritalin was also only tried with one type of anesthetic, so more studies must be conducted to determine if Ritalin works with other anesthesia medications, especially since the drug used in the study is not appropriate for all patients, as it is contraindicated in some cases.
Researchers theorize that Ritalin increases the rate of breathing, which may cause the anesthetic to leave the brain more quickly. They also believe that Ritalin may provide stimulation to the brain in a way that promotes awakening.
The researchers are also hopeful that learning how the brain wakes up will provide more clues as to how anesthesia puts us to sleep. There is much that is still unknown about this process in the body.
Types of Anesthesia
There are three different types of anesthesia:
General anesthesia puts the patient fully to sleep and prevents the patient from feeling any pain. This is usually given via an IV or a gas through a breathing mask or tube.
Local anesthesia numbs only the part of the body that will be cut during the surgical procedure, while the patient stays awake.
Regional anesthesia numbs a larger portion of the body, but the patient still remains awake.
This study was conducted on rats under general anesthesia only, as this is the only type of anesthesia that puts a patient fully asleep.
It will be interesting to see the results of future studies to determine if Ritalin can be safely used to assist in awakening patients after operations.
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