Sugammadex: Appropriate Use in the Context of Budgetary Constraints

Curr Anesthesiol Rep. 2018;8(2):178-185. doi: 10.1007/s40140-018-0265-6. Epub 2018 Mar 20.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to assess how sugammadex impacts postoperative residual curarization using appropriate doses based on neuromuscular transmission monitoring and whether the advantages of sugammadex versus neostigmine outweigh its higher cost.

Recent findings: An accurate assessment of neuromuscular blockade with monitoring is necessary before selecting neostigmine versus sugammadex for reversal at the end of surgery to overcome incomplete neuromuscular recovery. The main advantages of sugammadex over neostigmine are its predictability and its ability to extend the range of blockade reversal. The cost of sugammadex is greater when higher doses of sugammadex are required for antagonism of deep block. Sugammadex probably has the potential to be cost-effective compared with neostigmine if its time savings are put to productive use in clinical practice. However, to date, the economic benefits of the drug are unknown.

Summary: With sugammadex, almost any degree of neuromuscular block can be antagonized within 2-3 min; neostigmine is the only reversal agent effective against benzylisoquinolines and can ideally be used for reversal of lower levels of residual paralysis. The performance of the more expensive sugammadex on improving patient outcomes may depend on several elements of clinical strategy.

Keywords: Neostigmine; Neuromuscular block; Pharmacoeconomics; Postoperative complications; Sugammadex.

Publication types

  • Review