Vecuronium In Detail

Anesthesia Drugs: About Vecuronium

Anesthesia and Surgery Image
Anesthesia & Surgery. Photo: © Andrew Olney/Getty Images

What Is Vecuronium?

Vecuronium is a neuromuscular blocking agent, a type of muscle relaxant that is commonly referred to as a paralytic agent. It prevents nerve impulses from the brain from signaling the muscles of the body to move, preventing most of the muscles of the body from moving.

The heart is not stopped by Vecuronium, so the heart does continue to beat after administration of the drug.

How Is Vecuronium Given

Vecuronium is given through an IV, administered directly into the blood stream. It takes effect in seconds after administration.

Why Is Vecuronium Used?

Vecuronium is used as part of general anesthesia, preventing the patient from moving during surgery. Movements as small as a twitch could cause a surgical error, so it is important that the patient be absolutely still while the surgeon is operating.

Vecuronium is not prescribed or dispensed for home usage.

Vecuronium and General Anesthesia

While Vecuronium causes paralysis of the body, it does not render the patient unconscious, so additional medications are required to cause the patient to be unaware of the surgical procedure while under anesthesia.

The use of Vecuronium requires that the patient be intubated and placed on a ventilator. This is because the diaphragm, the group of muscles that allow us to breathe, are paralyzed.

The ventilator does the work of the diaphragm during surgery.

Vecuronium Side Effects

Vecuronium works on most major muscles of the body, including the intestine. After surgery it may take hours or even a few days for the digestive tract to “wake up” from surgery. For this reason, hospital staff may ask questions of a personal nature, including “have you passed gas or had a bowel movement?” to determine if the intestines are beginning to function.

Vecuronium may also contribute to fatigue after surgery,

Before Surgery

If you are having surgery, it is important that both your surgeon and your anesthesia provider are aware of any drugs (prescription or over the counter) that you are taking, and when you last took them.


Vecuronium Drug Information. Accessed July, 2009.