This study was designed to compare the time course of action and the safety profile of Rapacuronium and Mivacurium in day case dental surgery. After Ethics Committee approval 61 healthy adult patients, scheduled for dental day case surgery, were randomised in an assessor-blinded manner to receive either 1.5 mg/kg Rapacuronium with and without 0.05 neostigmine 5 min later (19 patients each) or a total of 0.25 mg/kg Mivacurium (n = 16). Anaesthesia was induced using Propofol 2 - 5.1 mg/kg and Remifentanil 24 - 73 mcg/kg/h and maintained with Desflurane in N2O/O2 (2/1). Endotracheal intubation was performed when maximum blockade was achieved and scored by a blinded intubator. Neuromuscular block was monitored using the train-of-four response to supramaximal stimuli at the ulnar nerve every 15 seconds using acceleromyography (TOF Watch SX). Onset time, clinical duration (reappearance of the third twitch of a TOF-stimulation) and recovery to T4/T1 > 0.9 were recorded. Speed of recovery was evaluated by the time difference between reappearance of the third twitch and T4/T1 > 0.9. The intubating conditions at the time of maximum block revealed no statistically significant differences between the three groups. Changes in blood pressure, heart rate and airway pressure were not significant. Onset time in subjects who received Rapacuronium (99 +/- 29 s) was faster compared to the onset time in those who received Mivacurium (157 +/- 36 s). Also clinical duration was significantly shorter following Rapacuronium without reversal (12 +/- 4 min) as well as with reversal (9 +/- 1 min) compared with Mivacurium (21 +/- 5 min)). Patients treated with Rapacuronium and reversal recovered faster (14 +/- 8 min)) compared to the other two groups (Mivacurium: 20 +/- 6 min, Rapacuronium without reversal: 31 +/- 9 min). The fraction of clinical duration of the total duration was highest following Mivacurium (51 %) when compared with Rapacuronium/Neostigmine (43 %) and Rapacuronium (28 %).