Ask your doctor. That’s a little too obvious, and there’s a little more detail you need that that. So here’s the scoop.
Note that this applies to traditional colonoscopes, not to virtual colonoscopies.
And remember that we think you should do a virtual colonoscopy first. So at this point, you should have already had the virtual colonoscopy.
When should I ask my doctor?
Ideally, before you have a meeting with your specialist, you should ask this question.
Your initial in person consultation (sometimes called an exam) with the specialist will probably cost you and/or your insurance company between $250 and $500. (Now you understand why they want to do those “consults,” where they probably don’t even examine you but tell you a few things about how to prepare, discuss the risks, and set the appointment.)
So it’s best to ask this important question before the expensive consultation or exam.
That probably means on the phone, and it probably means you won’t talk to the doctor. The receptionist probably won’t be able to answer this question other that to say you’ll be sedated, so you should at least talk to the nurse. You can explain your concern.
If you get friction from the nurse, you could even say you won’t pay for the consult, and will order your insurance company not to pay for the consult, if you get there and the doctor says he doesn’t work with an anesthesiologist. So it’s important that they give you the correct information on the phone.
What should I ask?
You should ask, on the phone, “When you do my colonoscopy, will you use Propofol as an anesthetic?”
Then follow up with, “So that means the doctor will not use Versed, and that an anesthesiologist will be there to handle the Propofol, is that correct?”
The answer here should be:
- Correct, no Versed will be used. Versed may also me called by its generic name, midazolam, pronounced mid-AZE-oh-lam.
- An anesthesiologist will be there. In some states a nurse-anesthetist may be allowed to administer it. (You may be interested in a report from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.) Propofol is also known by the brand name Diprivan.
If they tell you their nurse will administer the meds, it’s probably not going to be Propofol.
In my experience, they say something like, “Of course, they administer meds so it’s okay. You won’t remember a thing.” That’s a bad response.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using any drug.
We think it’s important for you to make an informed decision.
There may be reasons you shouldn’t use Propofol, such as prior reactions or allergies. Your anesthesiologist will be able to evaluate this.
We should also point out that there may be procedures where experiencing pain will help a surgeon or doctor locate or isolate something in order to treat you properly. Versed may be entirely appropriate for these situations where the pain is necessary to the treatment, and it would be better to forget. I’m sure it can be a very useful drug where it’s appropriate.
Pain shouldn’t be necessary for a colonoscopy.