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Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2011 Jul-Sep;24(3 Suppl):S35-46.

Muscle relaxants allergy.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.


The most common agents that are responsible for intraoperative anaphylaxis are muscle relaxants. In fact, neuromuscular blocking agents (NMBAs) contribute to 50-70 percent of allergic reactions during anaesthesia. The main mechanism of hypersensitivity reactions to NMBAs is represented by acute type I allergic reactions and the most severe form is anaphylaxis. The rate of non IgE mediated immediate hypersensitivity reactions usually varies between 20 percent and 35 percent of the reported cases in most large series. In a recent report, non allergic suspected reactions to NMBAs occurred with almost the same frequency as did those with an allergic component. Although the precise mechanisms of these reactions remain difficult to ascertain, they usually result from direct non specific mast cell and basophil activation. After diagnostic procedures, regardless of the specific IgE results, NMBAs are contraindicated if the skin tests were positive. In view of the constantly evolving anesthesiologic practices, and of the complexity of allergy investigation, an active policy to identify patients at risk and to provide any necessary support to anaesthetists and allergologists should be promoted. The high frequency of IgE anaphylactic reactions and the feasibility of skin tests in children justify systematic allergy testing whenever hypersensitivity reaction occurs during general anaesthesia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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