[Could it be a little less? Let the dose of thiopental in euthanasia depend on the body weight].
Author(s): Sprij B
Affiliation(s): Huisartsen Centrum Maassluis, The Netherlands. b.sprij@hcmaassluis
Publication date & source: 2010, Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd., 154:A1983.
Publication type: English Abstract
The Dutch 'euthanasia and assisted suicide' practice guideline advises using 2000 mg thiopental to induce coma, followed by a muscle relaxant to cause death by respiratory paralysis. However, when a doctor administers such a high dose of thiopental as a bolus injection to a cachectic patient, there is a high likelihood of immediate death and other side effects, which can be distressing for the family. Doctors who administered less than 2000 mg have been reprimanded for not working according to current standards. Arguments are given concerning in which circumstances it is reasonable to use the advised dose of 2000 mg of thiopental and when to use less thiopental to induce coma by direct intravenous injection. The author suggests that it may be better to adjust the dose of thiopental according to the body weight of the patient. The current practice guideline needs revision.