20mg/10ml ampoules (IV)

Executive Summary

(January 2023)

Etomidate is an ultrashort-acting, non-barbiturate hypnotic intravenous anesthetic agent. Is one of the most used and preferred hypnotic agents in the ED for Rapid Sequence Intubation (RSI)(29). 


Pharmacology for a single bolus administration (23,28,29):


Adult dose for rapid sequence intubation:  
0.3mg/kg IV (total body weight).

Mechanism of Action and Usage

Etomidate is an imidazole derivative, with agonist activity to the β and βsubunits of the GABA receptor (11) increasing its activity by moderating chloride channels, inhibiting neuronal action by decreasing the action potential threshold (16, 23, 28, 29). 


US-FDA Labeled (34, 4):

Adult dose

Inductor dose for rapid sequence intubation
0.3mg/kg IV.

Pediatric dose

Inductor dose for rapid sequence intubation
0.3 mg/kg IV.

Renal, hepatic, or other adjustments

No renal or hepatic adjustments needed. 

Dosage Forms and brand names

Cautions, Contraindications, Adverse effects, and Major drug interactions

Bottom line


Pregnancy and Lactation

Amounts of etomidate in milk are small and decrease rapidly (7). Available data indicate that no waiting period is required before resuming breastfeeding after etomidate anesthesia. Breastfeeding can be resumed as soon as the mother has recovered sufficiently from general anesthesia.


(2, 4, 5, 9, 16, 23, 28, 29).


® 2023 EMDrugs. All rights reserved.


This website provides general information and discussion about medications, health, and related subjects. The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this website, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other legally accredited health care worker in the country that resides or is visiting. 


Please do not delay your medical concerns and potential health emergencies by searching information in this website, instead look out for medical opinion in the services that exist with that specific purpose and work under the respective local health-care regulations. 


The views expressed on this blog and web­site have no rela­tion to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other insti­tu­tion with which the authors are  affiliated. 


For other instances, the authors of this website do not have any conflict of interest with any institution or pharmaceutical company in particular, and do not receive any compensation about any licenced drug mentioned in the website. In the same matter, the website is not intended to recommend any specific patented medication.

EMDrugs Team