Do intravenous sedatives act instantly as depicted by Hollywood?
We have two questions here, Stephen–the one you asked, and the even more interesting one you’d have asked if you’d thought of it, namely whether there’s any factual basis to the unforgettable scene in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film Pulp Fiction, in which a dying drug-overdose victim instantly revives when two jamokes stab a giant hypodermic of adrenaline into her heart. Short rap on near-instantaneous sedation: wacky. On heart shots: wacky, but not completely off the wall. Response time to a sedative injection varies widely depending on drug, dose, patient size, drug tolerance, route of administration, and so on. Any anesthesiologist will tell you that while some people take a long time to knock out, others drop off pretty fast. Blood cells take maybe 30 seconds to make a complete circuit of the body; under optimal conditions–let’s say you can inject via a previously inserted subclavian IV line–some people might fade in two to five seconds with a fast-acting drug such as methohexital