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Anesth Analg. 2004 Apr;98(4):986-9, table of contents.

Skin sensitivity to rocuronium and vecuronium: a randomized controlled prick-testing study in healthy volunteers.

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Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine, University Hospital and Paris XII Val-de-Marne School of Medicine, Créteil, France.


Prick tests are frequently used for the authentication of neuromuscular blocking drugs (NMBDs) as causative drugs for anaphylactic reactions during anesthesia. Unfortunately, the actual threshold concentration for skin testing remains debatable for most NMBDs. We studied the flare and wheal responses to prick tests with rocuronium and vecuronium. Thirty healthy, nonatopic, anesthesia-naive male and female volunteers (14 men and 16 women) from 18 to 40 yr of age were assigned randomly to receive a total of 10 prick tests-4 ascending dilutions (1:1000, 1:100, 1:10, and 1) of rocuronium and vecuronium and 2 controls-on both forearms. An assessor blinded to the assignment monitored systemic and skin responses to NMBDs and measured wheal and flare surfaces immediately after and 15 min after prick tests. None of the volunteers experienced any immediate systemic or cutaneous responses to rocuronium or vecuronium. Although a dilution of 1:1000 of both NMBDs failed to promote any skin response at 15 min, 50% and 40% of the subjects had a positive skin reaction to undiluted rocuronium and vecuronium, respectively. We demonstrated a sex effect related to smaller threshold concentration-induced cutaneous reactions in female volunteers to both muscle relaxants. Our observation questions the reliability of prick testing with undiluted solutions of rocuronium and vecuronium for the diagnosis of allergy.


Building concentration-skin response curves to prick tests with rocuronium and vecuronium in healthy, nonatopic, anesthesia-naive male and female volunteers demonstrated that the nonreactive concentration for both muscle relaxants is the 1:1000 dilution of the stock solutions. Our observation calls into question the past practice of prick-testing skin for sensitivity to neuromuscular blocking drugs by using undiluted solutions.

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