Isoflurane, sold under the trade name Forane among others, is a general anesthetic It can be used to start or maintain anesthesia. Often another medication, however, is used to start anesthesia due to airway irritation with isoflurane It is used by inhalation.
Side effects include a decreased effort to breathe (respiratory depression), low blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat. Serious side effects may include malignant hyperthermia and high blood potassium. It should not be used in people with a history of malignant hyperthermia either in themselves or their family members.
It is unknown if use during pregnancy is safe for the baby; however, use during a cesarean section appears to be okay. Isoflurane is in the halogenated ether family of medication.
Isoflurane was approved for medical use in the United States in 1979. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system.