Prolonged neuromuscular blockade in two critically ill patients treated with atracurium.

Recent literature suggests that the risk of prolonged neuromuscular blockade associated with atracurium compared with other nondepolarizing neuromuscular blocking agents may be minimal. Two patients experienced prolonged weakness associated with the administration of atracurium. Both received atracurium 0.5-0.7 mg/kg/hour in combination with methylprednisolone 500-600 mg/day. Electromyographic results and creatine kinase levels were suggestive of muscular weakness in both patients. Despite high-dose corticosteroid therapy, the electromyographic evidence supporting prolonged weakness did not suggest typical corticosteroid myopathy. Although some clinicians advocate routine administration of atracurium in critically ill patients due to the relative lack of reports of prolonged weakness, this may be premature. Although there are fewer reports of atracurium-associated prolonged weakness compared with pancuronium and vecuronium, the patients we describe suggest that it may occur.
AuthorsL L Hoey, S M Joslin, A Nahum, K Vance-Bryan
JournalPharmacotherapy (Pharmacotherapy) 1995 Mar-Apr Vol. 15 Issue 2 Pg. 254-9 ISSN: 0277-0008 [Print] United States
PMID7624274 (Publication Type: Case Reports, Comparative Study, Journal Article)
Chemical References
  • Atracurium
  • Vecuronium Bromide
  • Creatine Kinase
  • Pancuronium
  • Methylprednisolone
  • Aged
  • Asthma (complications)
  • Atracurium (adverse effects, pharmacology)
  • Creatine Kinase (blood)
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension (complications)
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • Methylprednisolone (administration & dosage)
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Hypotonia (chemically induced)
  • Neuromuscular Junction (drug effects)
  • Pancuronium (adverse effects, pharmacology)
  • Vecuronium Bromide (adverse effects, pharmacology)

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