Question 10

Describe the pharmacology of suxamethonium.

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College Answer

This was a level 1 pharmacology question, and it represents core knowledge. The mechanism of action of suxamethonium and the interactions at the neuromuscular junction as well as pharmaceutics were areas that often required further detail. Few candidates mentioned the effects of suxamethonium on the autonomic nervous system. Another common omission related to the factors that reduce plasma cholinesterase activity beyond genetic deficiency (such as liver disease, renal failure, thyrotoxicosis). Pleasingly, there was generally a good understanding of role, dosing, side effect profile, pharmacokinetics and of special situations and limitations of use pertinent to this drug

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