A hypnotic drug has to be able to achieve and maintain the suppression of consciousness (sleep) as its main activity. The pharmacological induced sleep is defined as hypnosis but it has not to be confused with that particular condition of consciousness susceptible to be influenced (hypnotic suggestion). The modern hypnotics available in the Italian anaesthesiological pharmacopoeia (propofol and midazolam) are able to work, in proportionally reduced doses, as sedative agents too; therefore, they can reduce or abolish the excitatory states or psychomotor agitation making patients calm and quiet. On the basis of a modulated and progressive central nervous system (CNS) depression, propofol and midazolam can produce either sedation or hypnosis. Therefore they can be injected intravenously to induce general anaesthesia and to maintain unconsciousness as the hypnotic component of a balanced anaesthetic technique just founding on the triad: hypnosis, analgesia and muscle relaxation. Without the suppression of consciousness (hypnosis) the last two components could not be able to attenuate the stress response during surgical procedures.
KeywordsChronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Malignant Hyperthermia Hypnotic Suggestion Progressive Central Nervous System Intrathecal Midazolam
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