Administration of magnesium sulfate before rocuronium: effects on speed of onset and duration of neuromuscular block

Author(s): Kussman B, Shorten G, Uppington J, Comunale ME


The speeds of onset of pancuronium, atracurium and vecuronium are increased by prior administration of magnesium sulphate. A prospective, randomized, double-blind, controlled, clinical study was performed to examine the effects of prior i.v. administration of magnesium sulphate 60 mg kg-1 on the neuromuscular blocking effects of rocuronium 0.6 mg kg-1 during isoflurane anaesthesia. Neuromuscular function was measured electromyographically (Relaxograph) in 30 patients who received either magnesium sulphate 60 mg kg-1 or normal saline, 1-min before rocuronium 0.6 mg kg-1. Mean onset times were similar in the two groups (magnesium sulphate 71 (SD 20) s; normal saline 75 (23) s), but times to initial, 10% and 25% recovery from neuromuscular block were significantly longer in the magnesium sulphate group (42.1 (16.3), 49.0 (12.4) and 56.5 (13.2) min, respectively) than in the saline group (25.1 (9.1), 33.0 (11.1) and 35.6 (13.2) min, respectively) (P < 0.05 in all three cases). Administration of magnesium sulphate was not associated with adverse haemodynamic effects. Prior administration of magnesium sulphate, under the study conditions described, prolonged rocuronium-induced neuromuscular block but did not increase speed of onset.

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