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Anesthesia has played a major role in making surgical intervention a viable therapeutic option in healthcare. Certainly, no surgical procedure could be conducted humanely if not for a way to keep the patient from feeling pain.
There are two basic categories of anesthesia: general anesthesia, which renders the patient unconscious, and local or regional anesthesia, which blocks sensation in a particular area of the body. Baxter is a leading manufacturer of products for general anesthesia. These include anesthetic gases, or inhaled anesthetics, and anesthesia-related critical care drugs.
In general anesthesia, there are several objectives in addition to protecting patients from pain during surgery. Patients must be immobilized. There must be sufficient muscle relaxation to enable the surgeon to cut through tissue. Blood flow must be maintained and heart and lung function carefully monitored. And, memory of the trauma being inflicted on patients' bodies must be eliminated.
To achieve all of these objectives, different anesthetics are used, both gases and injectables. But the most effective are gases, or inhaled anesthetics.
Baxter is the only company to offer all three of the most commonly used modern inhaled anesthetics for general anesthesia. This includes a proprietary inhaled anesthetic, SUPRANE (desflurane, USP), Sevoflurane, USP and FORANE(isoflurane, USP). The portfolio also includes Transderm Scop® (scopolamine 1.5 mg) for prevention of post-operative nausea and vomiting (PONV).
Transderm Scop is a registered trademark of Novartis AG.
Baxter entered the anesthesia business in 1998 when it acquired Ohmeda Pharmaceutical Products, based in New Providence, New Jersey. Currently, inhaled anesthetics are most widely used in developed markets, but they are being used increasingly in developing markets, representing a significant growth opportunity for Baxter. Future opportunities also include potential use of inhaled anesthetics in critical care settings outside the operating room. Most intensive care units, for example, currently use injectable anesthetics to keep patients sedated while they recover from injury or surgery.