Sedative at centre of Jackson probe



Michael Jackson's personal doctor could be charged over his death after a coroner apparently determined that the singer died after being given a lethal cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs.


Court documents in what is reported to be a homicide inquiry have shown that Dr Conrad Murray administered the powerful sedative Propofol just hours before the King of Pop collapsed.


The drug is useful as an anesthetic because patients tend to recover from its effects quite quickly, but it is not normally given outside hospitals.


An expert said it can be abused by medical staff who need to get to sleep quickly after long shifts.
It is used in operating theatres, often for smaller, short operations, said pharmaceutical specialist Dr Malcolm VandenBurg.


But it must be used in controlled circumstances because there is a narrow window between a safe and effective dose and one that is dangerous, he explained.


Dr VandenBurg, who acts as an expert witness in general medicine, pharmaceutical medicine, psychological medicine and pharmacology, said: "It is unusual to find a member of the general public who is addicted to Propofol as in my experience most are healthcare professionals.


"The addictive process starts when they self-administer it to help with sleeplessness. It is only licensed to be used by qualified experienced doctors in a setting where the heart, breathing and sedation can be very well monitored and procedures are available to manage the difficulties and complications that may arise.


"Such settings are probably only found in hospitals, particularly operating theatres and intensive care units.


"It is very unusual, if not unheard of, for it to be used by a physician in a domestic setting. It is certainly not licensed in either the UK or USA for use by a physician to help a patient with sleeplessness. If it was prescribed to Michael Jackson, and his doctors had a good reason to do it, I'm not aware of what that may be."


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