High Alert Medication: This medication bears a heightened risk of causing significant patient harm when it is used in error.


Trade Name(s)

  • Nimbex

Ther. Class.

neuromuscular blocking agents-nondepolarizing


  • Induction of skeletal muscle paralysis and facilitation of intubation after induction of anesthesia in surgical procedures.
  • Facilitation of compliance during mechanical ventilation.


Prevents neuromuscular transmission by blocking the effect of acetylcholine at the myoneural junction. Has no analgesic or anxiolytic properties.

Therapeutic Effect(s):

Skeletal muscle paralysis.


Absorption: IV administration results in complete bioavailability.

Distribution: Rapidly distributes into extracellular fluid.

Metabolism and Excretion: Undergoes pH-dependent breakdown, which is responsible for 80% of metabolism; remainder eliminated by liver and kidneys.

Half-life: 22–31 min.


IV2–3 min3–5 min28–50 min


Contraindicated in:

  • Hypersensitivity;
  • Pedi:  Products containing benzyl alcohol should be avoided in neonates.

Use Cautiously in:

  • Dehydration or electrolyte abnormalities (should be corrected prior to administration);
  • Fractures or muscle spasm;
  • Hyperthermia (↑ duration/intensity of paralysis);
  • Shock;
  • Extensive burns (may be more resistant to effects);
  • Low plasma pseudocholinesterase levels (may be seen in association with anemia, dehydration, cholinesterase inhibitors/insecticides, severe liver disease, pregnancy, or hereditary predisposition);
  • Obese patients;
  • OB:   Safety not established during pregnancy;
  • Lactation: Safety not established during breastfeeding;
  • Pedi:  Children <1 mo (safety and effectiveness not established).

Exercise Extreme Caution in:

Neuromuscular diseases such as myasthenia gravis (small test dose may be used to assess response).

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

Derm: rash

Resp: bronchospasm

Misc: HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTIONS (including anaphylaxis)

* CAPITALS indicate life-threatening.
Underline indicate most frequent.




IV (Adults and Children >12 yr): Initial intubating dose: 0.15–0.2 mg/kg, additional maintenance doses of 0.03 mg/kg may be used 40–65 min later;  Continuous infusion: 1–3 mcg/kg/min.

IV (Children  2–12 yr): Initial intubating dose: 0.1–0.15 mg/kg;  Continuous infusion: 1–3 mcg/kg/min.

IV (Infants 1–23 mo): Initial intubating dose: 0.15 mg/kg.

Availability (generic available)

Solution for injection: 2 mg/mL, 10 mg/mL


  • Assess respiratory status continuously throughout therapy. Use only to facilitate intubation or in patients already intubated.
  • Monitor neuromuscular response with a peripheral nerve stimulator intraoperatively. Paralysis is initially selective and usually occurs sequentially in the following muscles: levator muscles of eyelids, muscles of mastication, limb muscles, abdominal muscles, muscles of the glottis, intercostal muscles, and the diaphragm. Recovery of muscle function usually occurs in reverse order.
  • Monitor ECG, heart rate, and BP throughout administration.
  • Observe the patient for residual muscle weakness and respiratory distress during the recovery period.
  • Monitor infusion site frequently. If signs of tissue irritation or extravasation occur, discontinue and restart in another vein.
Toxicity and Overdose:

If overdose occurs, use peripheral nerve stimulator to determine the degree of neuromuscular blockade. Maintain airway patency and ventilation until recovery of normal respirations occurs.

  • Administration of anticholinesterase agents (neostigmine, pyridostigmine) may be used to antagonize the action of cisatracurium once the patient has demonstrated some spontaneous recovery from neuromuscular block. Atropine is usually administered prior to or concurrently with anticholinesterase agents to counteract the muscarinic effects.
  • Administration of fluids and vasopressors may be necessary to treat severe hypotension or shock.


  • High Alert: Unplanned administration of a neuromuscular blocking agent instead of administration of the intended medication or administration of a neuromuscular blocking agent in the absence of ventilatory support has resulted in serious harm and death. Confusing similarities in packaging and insufficiently controlled access to these medications are often implicated in these medication errors.
  • Dose is titrated to patient response.

    • Cisatracurium has no  effect on consciousness or pain threshold. Adequate anesthesia/analgesia should  always  be used when neuromuscular blocking agents are used as an adjunct to surgical procedures or when painful procedures are performed. Benzodiazepines and/or analgesics should be administered concurrently when prolonged neuromuscular blocker therapy is used for ventilator patients, because patient is awake and able to feel all sensations.
    • Not recommended for rapid sequence endotracheal intubation due to intermediate onset of action.
    • If eyes remain open throughout prolonged administration, protect corneas with artificial tears.

IV Administration

  • IV Push:  May be administered undiluted.
  • Rate: Administer initial IV dose as a bolus over 1 min.
  • Continuous Infusion:  Maintenance dose is usually required 40–60 min following initial dose. Maintenance dose is administered by infusion.
  • Dilution:  D5W, 0.9% NaCl, D5/0.9% NaCl, or D5/LR. Solutions diluted to 0.1 mg/mL in D5W, 0.9% NaCl, or D5/0.9% NaCl may be stored at room temperature or in refrigeration for 24 hr. Solutions diluted to 0.1–0.2 mg/mL in D5/LR may be stored for up to 24 hr in refrigerator.
  • Rate: 1–3 mcg/kg/min. Titrate according to patient response.
  • Y-Site Compatibility:
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    • MORE...
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      • cyclophosphamide
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      • dacarbazine
      • dactinomycin
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      • etoposide
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      • hydrocortisone
      • hydromorphone
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      • ifosfamide
      • imipenem/cilastatin
      • imipenem/cilastatin/relebactam
      • insulin, regular
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      • metoclopramide
      • metoprolol
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      • midazolam
      • milrinone
      • minocycline
      • mitomycin
      • mitoxantrone
      • morphine
      • moxifloxacin
      • mycophenolate
      • nalbuphine
      • nicardipine
      • nitroglycerin
      • norepinephrine
      • octreotide
      • ondansetron
      • oxaliplatin
      • oxytocin
      • paclitaxel
      • palonosetron
      • pamidronate
      • pemetrexed
      • phenylephrine
      • plazomicin
      • potassium acetate
      • potassium chloride
      • procainamide
      • prochlorperazine
      • promethazine
      • remifentanil
      • sodium acetate
      • sufentanil
      • sulbactam/durlobactam
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      • vancomycin
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      • vincristine
      • vinorelbine
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  • Y-Site Incompatibility:
    • ceftobiprole
    • gemtuzumab ozogamicin
    • MORE...
      • ketamine
      • micafungin
      • pantoprazole

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Explain all procedures to patient receiving cisatracurium therapy without general anesthesia, because consciousness is not affected by cisatracurium alone.
  • Reassure patient that communication abilities will return as the medication wears off.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Adequate suppression of the twitch response when tested with peripheral nerve stimulation and subsequent muscle paralysis.
  • Improved compliance during mechanical ventilation.