Pharmacy World & Science

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 82–87 | Cite as

Cost analysis of neuromuscular blocking agents in the operating room: cisatracurium, atracurium, vecuronium and rocuronium

  • A. Ortega
  • C. Sarobe
  • J. Giráldez
  • M.J. Iribarren


Cisatracurium (C), Atracurium (A), Rocuronium (R) and Vecuronium (V) are four neuromuscular blockers (NMB) used in the operating room with similar efficacy, defined as adequate muscle relaxation, but different pharmacokinetics. C and A have organ-independent elimination, A is associated with histamine release and R has a shorter onset time. The objective of this study was to economically compare these four NMB from the hospital point of view in order to facilitate drug selection. A cost analysis was performed. Only direct costs were considered and data were collected through a retrospective chart review. A total of 151 patient charts were randomly selected. Differences between patients receiving one of the four NMB were evaluated by ANOVA or Kruskal-Wallis tests. Then a multiple linear regression analysis was conducted. In the chart review, no significant difference was observed between the four groups of patients in age, weight or surgery duration (p>0.05). Multiple regression analysis revealed that atracurium was on average PTA 237 (1 Euro = PTA 166) cheaper per surgery than any other NMB after adjusting for other factors (p<0.01) and there is no significant difference in cost between the other three NMBs (p>0.1). We recommend the use of rocuronium when a quick onset is needed and the patient does not have hepatic failure, cisatracurium when a haemodynamic instability is possible and atracurium in the remaining cases. If just one NMB can be included in the drug formulary we would select cisatracurium due to its pharmacological advantages over atracurium with a small increment in cost.

Cisatracurium, atracurium Costs Neuromuscular blocking agents Vecuronium Rocuronium Pharmacoeconomics 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Ortega
    • 1
  • C. Sarobe
    • 2
  • J. Giráldez
    • 2
  • M.J. Iribarren
    • 3
  1. 1.Pharmacy DepartmentUniversity Hospital of NavarraPamplonaSpain
  2. 2.Pharmacy DepartmentUniversity Hospital of NavarraPamplonaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and BiopharmacyUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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