Consequences of succinylcholine administration to patients using statins

Anesthesiology. 2011 Jul;115(1):28-35. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e31822079fa.


Background: Statins cause structural changes in myocytes and provoke myotoxicity, myopathy, and myalgias. Thus, patients taking statins may be especially susceptible to succinylcholine-induced muscle injury. The authors tested the hypothesis that succinylcholine increases plasma concentrations of myoglobin, potassium, and creatine kinase more in patients who take statins than in those who do not and that succinylcholine-induced postoperative muscle pain is aggravated in statin users.

Methods: Patients who took statins for at least 3 months and those who had never used statins were enrolled. General anesthesia was induced and included 1.5 mg/kg succinylcholine for intubation. The incidence and degree of fasciculation after succinylcholine administration were recorded. Blood samples were obtained before induction and 5 and 20 min and 24 h after succinylcholine administration. Patients were interviewed 2 and 24 h after surgery to determine the degree of myalgia.

Results: The authors enrolled 38 patients who used statins and 32 who did not. At 20 min, myoglobin was higher in statin users versus nonusers (ratio of medians 1.34 [95% CI: 1.1, 1.7], P = 0.018). Fasciculations in statin users were more intense than in nonusers (P = 0.047). However, plasma potassium and creatine kinase concentrations were similar in statin users and nonusers, as was muscle pain.

Conclusions: The plasma myoglobin concentration at 20 min was significantly greater in statin users than nonusers, although the difference seems unlikely to be clinically important. The study results suggest that the effect of succinylcholine given to patients taking statins is likely to be small and probably of limited clinical consequence.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anesthesia, General
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Drug Interactions
  • Fasciculation / chemically induced
  • Fasciculation / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Diseases / chemically induced
  • Muscular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Myoglobin / metabolism
  • Neuromuscular Depolarizing Agents / adverse effects*
  • Pain / chemically induced
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain Measurement / drug effects
  • Potassium / blood
  • Succinylcholine / adverse effects*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Myoglobin
  • Neuromuscular Depolarizing Agents
  • Creatine Kinase
  • Succinylcholine
  • Potassium