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Zemuron (Rocuronium Bromide) - Drug Interactions, Contraindications, Overdosage, etc




Drugs which may enhance the neuromuscular blocking action of nondepolarizing agents such as ZEMURON include certain antibiotics (e.g., aminoglycosides; vancomycin; tetracyclines; bacitracin; polymyxins; colistin; and sodium colistimethate). If these antibiotics are used in conjunction with ZEMURON, prolongation of neuromuscular block may occur.


In 2 of 4 patients receiving chronic anticonvulsant therapy, apparent resistance to the effects of ZEMURON was observed in the form of diminished magnitude of neuromuscular block, or shortened clinical duration. As with other nondepolarizing neuromuscular blocking drugs, if ZEMURON is administered to patients chronically receiving anticonvulsant agents such as carbamazepine or phenytoin, shorter durations of neuromuscular block may occur and infusion rates may be higher due to the development of resistance to nondepolarizing muscle relaxants. While the mechanism for development of this resistance is not known, receptor up-regulation may be a contributing factor [see Warnings and Precautions].

Inhalation Anesthetics

Use of inhalation anesthetics has been shown to enhance the activity of other neuromuscular blocking agents (enflurane > isoflurane > halothane).

Isoflurane and enflurane may also prolong the duration of action of initial and maintenance doses of ZEMURON and decrease the average infusion requirement of ZEMURON by 40% compared to opioid/nitrous oxide/oxygen anesthesia. No definite interaction between ZEMURON and halothane has been demonstrated. In one study, use of enflurane in 10 patients resulted in a 20% increase in mean clinical duration of the initial intubating dose, and a 37% increase in the duration of subsequent maintenance doses, when compared in the same study to 10 patients under opioid/nitrous oxide/oxygen anesthesia. The clinical duration of initial doses of ZEMURON of 0.57 to 0.85 mg/kg under enflurane or isoflurane anesthesia, as used clinically, was increased by 11% and 23%, respectively. The duration of maintenance doses was affected to a greater extent, increasing by 30% to 50% under either enflurane or isoflurane anesthesia.

Potentiation by these agents is also observed with respect to the infusion rates of ZEMURON required to maintain approximately 95% neuromuscular block. Under isoflurane and enflurane anesthesia, the infusion rates are decreased by approximately 40% compared to opioid/nitrous oxide/oxygen anesthesia. The median spontaneous recovery time (from 25% to 75% of control T1) is not affected by halothane, but is prolonged by enflurane (15% longer) and isoflurane (62% longer). Reversal-induced recovery of ZEMURON neuromuscular block is minimally affected by anesthetic technique [see Dosage and Administration and Warnings and Precautions].

Lithium Carbonate

Lithium has been shown to increase the duration of neuromuscular block and decrease infusion requirements of neuromuscular blocking agents [see Warnings and Precautions].

Local Anesthetics

Local anesthetics have been shown to increase the duration of neuromuscular block and decrease infusion requirements of neuromuscular blocking agents [see Warnings and Precautions].


Magnesium salts administered for the management of toxemia of pregnancy may enhance neuromuscular blockade [see Warnings and Precautions].

Nondepolarizing Muscle Relaxants

There are no controlled studies documenting the use of ZEMURON before or after other nondepolarizing muscle relaxants. Interactions have been observed when other nondepolarizing muscle relaxants have been administered in succession.


Procainamide has been shown to increase the duration of neuromuscular block and decrease infusion requirements of neuromuscular blocking agents [see Warnings and Precautions].


The use of propofol for induction and maintenance of anesthesia does not alter the clinical duration or recovery characteristics following recommended doses of ZEMURON.


Injection of quinidine during recovery from use of muscle relaxants is associated with recurrent paralysis. This possibility must also be considered for ZEMURON [see Warnings and Precautions].


The use of ZEMURON before succinylcholine, for the purpose of attenuating some of the side effects of succinylcholine, has not been studied.

If ZEMURON is administered following administration of succinylcholine, it should not be given until recovery from succinylcholine has been observed. The median duration of action of ZEMURON 0.6 mg/kg administered after a 1 mg/kg dose of succinylcholine when T1 returned to 75% of control was 36 minutes (range 14–57, n=12) vs. 28 minutes (17–51, n=12) without succinylcholine.


Overdosage with neuromuscular blocking agents may result in neuromuscular block beyond the time needed for surgery and anesthesia. The primary treatment is maintenance of a patent airway, controlled ventilation and adequate sedation until recovery of normal neuromuscular function is assured. Once evidence of recovery from neuromuscular block is observed, further recovery may be facilitated by administration of an anticholinesterase agent in conjunction with an appropriate anticholinergic agent.

Reversal of Neuromuscular Blockade: Anticholinesterase agents should not be administered prior to the demonstration of some spontaneous recovery from neuromuscular blockade. The use of a nerve stimulator to document recovery is recommended.

Patients should be evaluated for adequate clinical evidence of neuromuscular recovery, e.g., 5-second head lift, adequate phonation, ventilation, and upper airway patency. Ventilation must be supported while patients exhibit any signs of muscle weakness.

Recovery may be delayed in the presence of debilitation, carcinomatosis, and concomitant use of certain drugs which enhance neuromuscular blockade or separately cause respiratory depression. Under such circumstances the management is the same as that of prolonged neuromuscular blockade.


ZEMURON is contraindicated in patients known to have hypersensitivity (e.g., anaphylaxis) to rocuronium bromide or other neuromuscular blocking agents [see Warnings and Precautions].

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