Vecuronium dissolved in normal saline exaggerates pain on intravenous injection

L. H. Chow, C. M. Ho, Y. C. Yang, T. Y. Lee, P. W. Lui*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background. On some anesthetic occasions, many patients complained of pain at the site of injection when vecuronium, dissolved in normal saline, was administered intravenously. The aims of this study was to compare the incidence of pain on i.v. injection of vecuronium either dissolved in normal saline or in a solvent provided by the pharmaceutical manufacturer. Methods. We studied eighty patients of ASA physical status class I-II undergoing elective surgery under general anesthesia. Patients were arranged randomly to receive intravenous 0.1 mg/kg vecuronium dissolved either in solvent (n = 40) or in normal saline (n = 40) through the catheter indwelling in a vein on the dorsum of hand over 5 seconds. Immediately after injection, a nurse was appointed to score the degree of pain. Induction of anesthesia was accomplished with thiopental and fentanyl 30 seconds after vecuronium administration. Results. Vecuronium dissolved in normal saline induced severe pain more frequently during injection than that dissolved in solvent (27.5% versus 10%). There was no significant difference in pH between these two solutions (3.87 versus 4.08). However, vecuronium dissolved in normal saline showed higher osmolality than that dissolved in solvent (425 ± 7 mOsm/kg versus 149 ± 3 mOsm/kg). Conclusions. Pain resulting from intravenous injection of vecuronium can be aggravated if normal saline was used as the solvent. Increased osmolality may also be responsible for this phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-318
Number of pages4
JournalChinese Medical Journal (Taipei)
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • injection pain
  • neuromuscular
  • vecuronium


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