Question 10

Outline the advantages (15% of marks) and disadvantages (85% of marks) of the clinical use of suxamethonium.

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College Answer

This commonly used drug should be very well-known. The question asked for an outline, hence long explanations of various aspects of pharmacology (e.g. pseudocholinesterase deficiency) were unnecessary. Headings should have included: advantages (e.g. rapid onset, rapid offset, short acting, IV or IM administration, not end organ dependent for metabolism, premixed, safe in pregnancy and neonates). The disadvantages section should have included the following headings: pharmaceutical, adverse drug reactions (including several potentially fatal ones), numerous contraindications, unpleasant side-effects and potential problems with repeat dosing