Isoflurane, sold under the trade name Forane among others, is a general anesthetic. It can be used to start or maintain  anesthesia, however other medications are often used to start anesthesia rather than isoflurane, due to airway irritation with isoflurane.  Isoflurane is given via  inhalation.
Side effects of isoflurane include a
decreased ability to breathe (respiratory depression), low blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat. Serious side effects can include  malignant hyperthermia or high blood potassium. It should not be used in people with a history of malignant hyperthermia in either themselves or their family members.  It is unknown if its use during  pregnancy is safe for the fetus, but use during a cesarean section appears to be safe.  Isoflurane is a  halogenated ether.
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 wholesale cost of isoflurane in the  developing world is about US$17.24–170.40 per 250 ml bottle.
Isoflurane is always administered in conjunction with
air or pure oxygen. Often, nitrous oxide is also used. Although its physical properties imply that anaesthesia can be induced more rapidly than with halothane, its pungency can irritate the respiratory system, negating any possible advantage conferred by its physical properties. It is usually used to maintain a state of general anesthesia that has been induced by another drug, such as  thiopentone or propofol.
Animal studies have raised safety concerns of certain general anesthetics, in particular
ketamine and isoflurane, in young children. The risk of neurodegeneration was increased in combination of these agents with nitrous oxide and benzodiazepines such as midazolam. Whether these concerns occur in humans is unclear. 
Biophysical studies using
NMR spectroscopy has provided molecular details of how inhaled anesthetics interact with three amino acid residues (G29, A30 and I31) of amyloid beta peptide and induce aggregation. This area is important as "some of the commonly used inhaled anesthetics may cause brain damage that accelerates the onset of Alzheimer’s disease".
It is a
racemic mixture of ( R)- and ( S)-optical isomers. It vaporizes readily but is a liquid at room temperature. It is non-flammable.
Mechanism of action
Similar to many general anesthetics, the exact mechanism of the action has not been clearly delineated.
Isoflurane reduces pain sensitivity (  analgesia) and relaxes muscles. Isoflurane likely binds to GABA, glutamate and glycine receptors, but has different effects on each receptor. Isoflurane acts as a positive allosteric modulator of the GABA in electrophysiology studies of neurons and recombinant receptors. A receptor    It potentiates glycine receptor activity, which decreases motor function.  It inhibits receptor activity in the  NMDA glutamate receptor subtypes. Isoflurane inhibits conduction in activated potassium channels. Isoflurane also affects intracellular molecules. It activates  calcium ATPase by increasing membrane fluidity . It binds to the D subunit of ATP synthase and NADH dehydrogenase.
General anaesthesia with isoflurane reduces plasma
endocannabinoid AEA concentrations, and this could be a consequence of stress reduction after loss of consciousness.
enflurane and halothane, it replaced the flammable ethers used in the pioneer days of surgery. Its name comes from being a structural isomer of enflurane, hence they have the same empirical formula.
The average lifetime of isoflurane in the atmosphere is 3.2 years, its
global warming potential is 510 and the yearly emissions add up to 880 tons.
Isoflurane is frequently used for
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