Onset–potency relationship of nondepolarizing muscle relaxants: a reexamination using simulations Article (Web of Science)


  • Nondepolarizing muscle relaxants (MRs) display an inverse onset–potency relationship, that is, less potent MRs display a more rapid onset. We have conducted the current investigation to estimate the impact of variable pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic properties of the MRs on potency and onset time, and on the onset–potency relationship. Using a model of neuromuscular transmission, we changed either the affinity of MRs for the postsynaptic receptors or the pharmacokinetic properties of the MRs. The elimination rate constant, k10, which defines the systemic clearance, was assigned one of 9 values and the transport rate constant, k12, one of 5 values. The transport rate constant into the effect compartment was constant (ke1 = 0.2 min–1). Only one parameter was altered at a time. With constant pharmacokinetics, a 100-fold decrease in affinity caused a proportional decrease in potency, but little change (0.02 min) in onset time. With constant affinity, increasing the clearance from 1 to 250 mL·kg–1·min–1 shortened the onset time from 7.2 to 0.7 min and decreased the potency 12-fold. In a double logarithmic plot, the onset–potency relationship was linear. Lesser affinities produce a nearly parallel rightward shift of the regression lines. The inverse onset–potency relationship may be explained by the pharmacokinetic factors producing changes in both the potency and onset times.


publication date

  • 2007

number of pages

  • 8

start page

  • 774

end page

  • 782


  • 85


  • 8