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Reversal of Neuromuscular Block With a Selective Relaxant-Binding Agent: Sugammadex

Ren, Wendy H P MD*; Jahr, Jonathan S MD

American Journal of Therapeutics: July-August 2009 - Volume 16 - Issue 4 - p 295-299
doi: 10.1097/MJT.0b013e31817fe2d7
Symposium: Advances in Anesthesia, Preoperative and Pain Management

Muscle relaxants are used in the perioperative period to aid in endotracheal intubation, facilitate surgical exposure, and in the critical care setting for prolonged relaxation. Until now, the only mechanism to reverse their effect is acetylcholinesterase inhibitors that result in excess parasympathetic activity and require a second drug to prevent this side effect. Additionally, the onset and degree of neuromuscular antagonism are often unpredictable and unreliable. Sugammadex is the first of the cyclodextrins to be used as a therapeutic agent. It quickly, effectively, and safely reverses steroidal neuromuscular blockers by encapsulating the muscle relaxant and rendering it inactive. Sugammadex may be considered the ideal reversal agent and the first drug in its class, which will likely change the practice of anesthesia and clinical neuromuscular pharmacology.

Department of Anesthesiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA.

*Address for correspondence: Department of Anesthesiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Westwood Plaza, Suite 3325, Los Angeles, CA 90095. E-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.