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Succinylcholine: A Depolarizing Relaxant

Alan H. Friedman, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(12):1254. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460120016017.
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Sir.—In the recent article concernin[ill] King's syndrome and malignant hype[ill] thermia (MH),1 the authors noted tha[ill] MH is induced by "volatile anesthetic and/or nondepolarizing muscle relax[ill] ants, most often halothane and suc[ill] cinylcholine." While these two agent are classically associated with MH succinylcholine, rather than being nondepolarizing relaxant, is actually depolarizing relaxant. In fact, in swin[ill] susceptible to MH, triggering seem[ill] to require depolarization of the musc[ill] membrane.2 Generally, some non depolarizing relaxants, such as pan[ill] curonium, are considered "safe" in th[ill] patient suspected of being at risk fo[ill] MH. This is logical in view of evidenc[ill] that the nondepolarizers block suc[ill] cinylcholine triggering of MH.3

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