How Do Depolarizing Neuromuscular Blockers Work?

Reviewed on 7/27/2021

HOW DO DEPOLARIZING NEUROMUSCULAR BLOCKERS WORK?

Depolarizing neuromuscular blockers are drugs used to induce anesthesia and relax skeletal muscles (paralysis) during intubation, mechanical ventilation, and surgical procedures.

Neuromuscular blockers prevent the action of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction, thereby preventing skeletal muscle contraction. A neuromuscular junction is a site of chemical communication between a nerve fiber and muscle cell.

Skeletal muscle contraction requires the brain to send a signal in the form of an action potential that stimulates the release of acetylcholine from the acetylcholine receptors in the neuromuscular junction. This causes the muscles to contract.

Depolarizing neuromuscular blockers bind to acetylcholine receptors and generate an action potential. However, they are not broken down by anticholinesterase enzymes, leading to continuous binding to acetylcholine receptors. As the depolarizing muscle blockers continue to bind to acetylcholine receptors, the muscle cells continue to contract and finally become paralyzed.

HOW ARE DEPOLARIZING NEUROMUSCULAR BLOCKERS USED?

Depolarizing neuromuscular blockers are used to induce anesthesia and relax skeletal muscles during:

  • Intubation
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Surgical procedures

WHAT ARE SIDE EFFECTS OF DEPOLARIZING NEUROMUSCULAR BLOCKERS?

Depolarizing neuromuscular blockers can cause the following side effects:

The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.

SLIDESHOW

Back Pain: 16 Back Pain Truths and Myths See Slideshow

WHAT ARE NAMES OF DEPOLARIZING NEUROMUSCULAR BLOCKERS?

Generic and brand names of depolarizing neuromuscular blockers include:

References
https://reference.medscape.com/drugs/neuromuscular-blockers-depolarizing

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532996/

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors