The administration of general anaesthetics and neuromuscular blocking drugs is generally confined to trained specialists. Nevertheless, nonspecialists are involved in perioperative care and will benefit from an understanding of how these drugs act. Doctors from a variety of specialties use local anaesthetics and the pharmacology of these drugs is discussed in detail.

• General anaesthesia

• Pharmacology of anaesthetics

• Inhalation anaesthetics

• Intravenous anaesthetics

• Muscle relaxants: neuromuscular blocking drugs

• Local anaesthetics

• Obstetric analgesia and anaesthesia

• Anaesthesia in patients already taking drugs

• Anaesthesia in the diseased, the elderly and children; sedation in intensive therapy units

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