Neostigmine: Side Effects
Last updated: 06/07/2017
When neostigmine is administered to reverse neuromuscular blockade (NMB), the nicotinic effects are desired but muscarinic effects can be problematic.
- Muscarinic effect results in bradycardia by slowed conduction through atrioventricular (AV) node
- Must be dosed in combination with glycopyrrolate, which is vagolytic and has a similar onset of effect
- Hypotension secondary to decreased in peripheral vascular resistance
Nausea and Vomiting
- Conflicting studies with some reporting increased postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV), some with antiemetic effect, and others showing no difference.
- Meta-analysis by Tramer and Fuchs-Bader of 1,100 patients showed incidence of vomiting in 17-33% and dose-dependent relationship between neostigmine and PONV.
- Bronchospasm due to cholinergic effect
- Hypoxia and increased secretions
- Miosis, increased gastrointestinal secretions and motility, possible NMB at high doses
Side effects must be carefully balanced against the potential for residual weakness if patient does not have neuromuscular blockade antagonized.
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