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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Clinical pharmacokinetics of neuromuscular blocking drugs.

Neuromuscular blocking agents provide muscle relaxation for a great variety of surgical procedures with light planes of general anaesthesia. Besides having a significant impact in the development of anaesthesia and surgery, these agents continue to play an important role as pharmacological tools in the elucidation of the physiological and pharmacological regulation of neuromuscular transmission and the morphofunctional organisation of the neuromuscular junction. In the daily practice of anaesthesia, muscle relaxants are considered to be safe drugs with predictable, straightforward pharmacological actions. However, the use of relaxants constitutes a deliberate encroachment on respiration, one of the most important physiological mechanisms. The pharmacokinetic behaviour of this class of agents is little influenced by age or anaesthetic agents; however, hepatic or renal disease may profoundly alter their excretion pattern, resulting in prolonged duration of neuromuscular blockade. Biotransformation plays an important role in the total elimination of recently introduced compounds. Consequently, knowledge of the disposition pharmacokinetics, excretion and biotransformation of this class of drugs is indispensable for their rational choice for various surgical procedures. In this review, the known pharmacokinetics of standard compounds (introduced before 1980) are briefly summarised and new information generated by the development of vecuronium, rocuronium, pipecuronium (steroidal agents) and atracurium, mivacurium, doxacurium (benzylisoquinolinium esters) is discussed in more detail.[1]


  1. Clinical pharmacokinetics of neuromuscular blocking drugs. Agoston, S., Vandenbrom, R.H., Wierda, J.M. Clinical pharmacokinetics. (1992) [Pubmed]
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