Navigating the new era of assisted suicide and execution drugs | Journal of Law and the Biosciences | Oxford Academic

October 2, 2021
Meanwhile, the standard PAS protocol in the USA involves the prescription of a lethal dose of a barbiturate, typically
pentobarbital or secobarbital, to be consumed by the patient in liquid form. Often, the dose is mixed with juice, in what is often called a ‘potion’, to combat the bitter taste of the drugs. The patient is legally required to drink the potion by themselves, to ensure the decision remains autonomous. Physicians are free to prescribe, off-label, any drug they deem fit for these lethal purposes, under protection from prosecution. Only three lethal medications
(secobarbital, pentobarbital, and phenobarbital) have been used, according to state statistics, aside from anti-nausea and anti-anxiety medications to combat side effects.5 In the Netherlands and Belgium, physicians typically rely on sodium thiopental and pancuronium bromide when euthanizing patients at their behest.13