What is succinylcholine/suxamethonium used for?
Succinylcholine/suxamethonium is a depolarizing muscle relaxant. It works by keeping muscles from contracting, which causes paralysis of the muscles in the face and those used to breathe and move.
Succinylcholine/suxamethonium is commonly used for relaxing muscles during surgery or when using a breathing machine (ventilator).
It is also used to induce anesthesia or when a tube must be inserted in the windpipe. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
How should I take succinylcholine/suxamethonium?
Succinylcholine/suxamethonium is given as an injection at your doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic.
Do not use succinylcholine/suxamethonium if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
How do I store succinylcholine/suxamethonium?
Succinylcholine/suxamethonium is usually handled and stored by a health care provider.
If you are using succinylcholine/suxamethonium at home, store it as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep succinylcholine/suxamethonium out of the reach of children and away from pets.
Precautions & warnings
What should I know before using succinylcholine/suxamethonium?
Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:
- You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
- You are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement.
- You have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances.
- You are allergic to any ingredient in succinylcholine/suxamethonium.
Malignant hyperthermia is a possibly fatal syndrome that can be caused by succinylcholine/suxamethonium. Symptoms may include fast heartbeat, fast breathing, high body temperature, or spasm or stiffness of the jaw or other muscles. Contact your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms.
Tell your doctor or dentist that you take succinylcholine/suxamethonium before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
Succinylcholine/suxamethonium should only be used in children in emergency situations. Rare, serious side effects have occurred in children who have received succinylcholine/suxamethonium.
Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using succinylcholine/suxamethonium during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking succinylcholine/suxamethonium. Succinylcholine/suxamethonium is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:
- A=No risk
- B=No risk in some studies
- C=There may be some risk
- D=Positive evidence of risk
What side effects can occur from succinylcholine/suxamethonium?
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most common side effects persist or become bothersome:
- Increased saliva
- Muscle pain following surgery
- Muscle twitching
Seek medical attention right away if any of these severe side effects occur:
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness in the chest
- Swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue
- Chest pain
- Fast breathing
- Fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
- High body temperature
- Increased pressure in the eye
- Pauses in breathing
- Pounding in the chest
- Severe muscle pain with or without decreased urination
- Severe or persistent dizziness or headache
- Slowed or shallow breathing
- Tightening of the jaw or other muscles
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
What drugs may interact with succinylcholine/suxamethonium?
Succinylcholine/suxamethonium may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
Products may interact with your drugs, including:
- Digoxin because the risk of abnormal heart rhythms may be increased.
- Aminoglycosides (e.g., gentamicin), aprotinin, beta-adrenergic blockers (e.g., propranolol), chloroquine, clindamycin, cyclophosphamide, glucocorticoids (e.g., prednisone), lidocaine, lithium, magnesium salts, metoclopramide, oral contraceptives (e.g., birth control pills), oxytocin, procainamide, promazine, quinidine, quinine, terbutaline, or trimethaphan because they may increase the risk of succinylcholine/suxamethonium ‘s side effects.
Does food or alcohol interact with succinylcholine/suxamethonium?
Succinylcholine/suxamethonium may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.
What health conditions may interact with succinylcholine/suxamethonium?
Succinylcholine/suxamethonium may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.
Especially if you have:
- A severe allergic reaction (e.g., severe rash, hives, difficulty breathing, dizziness) to another neuromuscular blocking agent (e.g., pancuronium)
- Blood electrolyte problems (e.g., high or low potassium levels, low calcium levels)
- Liver or kidney problems
- A tumor
- An infection
- A certain thyroid problem (myxedema)
- Stomach or intestinal ulcers
- Decompensated heart problems
- Decreased activity or deficiency of plasma cholinesterase
- A bone fracture
- Recent eye surgery or an eye injury
- A history of stomach infections or bleeding in the brain
- A severe burn, trauma, nerve damage, or an upper body movement injury
- A personal or family history of muscle disease or malignant hyperthermia (a life-threatening state that includes high body temperatures)
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using succinylcholine/suxamethonium.
What is the dose of succinylcholine/suxamethonium for an adult?
Loading dose is
- 3-1.1 mg/kg IV x1 dose
- 3-4 mg/kg IM x1 dose
Short procedures: usually 0.6 mg/kg IV injection
Maintain dose for prolonged procedures
- 0.04-0.07 mg/kg IV q5-10min PRN
- 2.5 mg/min IV infusion
What is the dose of succinylcholine/suxamethonium for a child?
Loading dose is
- 1-2 mg/kg IV x1 dose
- 3-4 mg/kg deep IM x1 dose (no adequate IV)
How is succinylcholine/suxamethonium available?
Succinylcholine/suxamethonium is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
- Injectable solution 20mg/mL, 100mg/mL
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of succinylcholine/suxamethonium, contact your doctor right away.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Succinylcholine/suxamethonium. http://reference.medscape.com/drug/anectine-quelicin-succinylcholine-343102. Accessed December 16, 2016
Succinylcholine/suxamethonium. https://www.drugs.com/cdi/succinylcholine.html. Accessed December 16, 2016.
Review Date: April 19, 2017 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019