We compared the efficacy of IV fentanyl with IV lidocaine as pretreatment for the prevention of withdrawal response after rocuronium injection. For this prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study we recruited 90 patients aged between 18 and 65 yr, ASA physical status I or II, who had undergone elective surgery requiring general anesthesia and positive pressure ventilation. Patients were randomly allocated to 1 of 3 groups: group F received 2 mL IV fentanyl 50 microg/mL (100 microg), group L received 2 mL of preservative-free lidocaine 2% (40 mg), and group P (placebo) received 2 mL of normal saline. The incidence of withdrawal response after rocuronium was 57%, 30%, and 7% in the placebo, lidocaine, and fentanyl groups, respectively. We found a significant reduction in incidence of withdrawal response in both the fentanyl and lidocaine groups when compared with the placebo group (P < 0.05), with the fentanyl group being most effective (P < 0.05). In conclusion, both fentanyl and lidocaine are effective clinical treatments to alleviate the withdrawal response associated with rocuronium injection, with fentanyl being more effective.