Atracurium is used during surgical procedures carried out under general anaesthetic requiring skeletal muscle relaxation, to aid endotracheal intubation and to help controlled ventilation in patients who use ICU.

What is Atracurium?

Atracurium is a drug, which belongs to the group of muscle relaxants and more precisely, it is called a non-depolarizing neuromuscular blocker. Also known as a competitive neuromuscular blocker, depolarizing neuromuscular blocking drugs don’t affect the peripheral nervous system, disrupting the neuromuscular transmission by going against the activity of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and therefore reducing the response to acetylcholine receptor releasing the nerve impulse. In addition, atracurium is also part of the group of tubocurarine (that is the predecessor of nondepolarizing skeletal muscle relaxants), alcuronium,  gallamina, metocurina, pancuronium and vecuronium.

How should Atracurium be taken?

Atracurium is taken intravenously, by injection or infusion. It’s inactive and most efficient when taken orally.

Side effects associated with Atracurium

The side effects that may result from the use of this drug are:

  • General disorders: allergic reactions of various kinds;
  • Cardiovascular disorders: hypotension, hypertension, vasodilation (flushing), tachycardia, bradycardia, hypoxemia;
  • Respiratory disorders: dyspnea, bronchospasm, laryngospasm, asthma;  
  • Musculoskeletal disorders;  
  • Skin disorders: rash, urticaria, Erythema, injection site reactions.


Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Atracurium

It is not suitable for patients who know or suspect hypersensitivity to the product. In surgery it should be used only after adequate general anesthesia. This drug should only be administered by experienced staff in the administration of artificial respiration.

The use of atracurium during the first three months of pregnancy should be avoided and should not be used during the second and third trimesters unless absolutely necessary for the well-being of the mother. The atracurium has its own characteristics that make it virtually non-transferable in breast milk; in light of the potential downward effect on respiration of the newborn, especially if it’s premature, it is recommended to carefully monitor the newborn.