DEA proposes listing propofol as schedule IV drug

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The Drug Enforcement Administration is proposing to designate the anesthetic propofol as a schedule IV drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

In 2008, the DEA received a petition requesting that propofol become a controlled substance. The request was made because reports of propofol abuse have been increasing and propofol abuse has a high mortality rate.

The Adverse Event Reporting System database at the Food and Drug Administration includes reports of propofol diversion and abuse, which in some cases resulted in death. In 96 percent of these cases, the abusers were health care providers or individuals in training programs to become health care professionals.

The DEA is accepting comments until Dec. 27 on the proposal to designate propofol as a schedule IV substance.

At press time, the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents and AVMA Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee were formulating a response, seeking to convey concerns for public health as well as concerns about the administrative burden on veterinarians if propofol becomes a controlled substance.

Parties may view the DEA proposal and submit comments at by searching for "propofol schedule IV." Parties may submit comments by e-mail to dea [dot] diversion [dot] policyatusdoj [dot] gov (dea[dot]diversion[dot]policy[at]usdoj[dot]gov) or by mail to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Attention: DEA Federal Register Representative/ODL, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, VA 22152. Comments should refer to Docket No. DEA–327.