Suxamethonium: Supply issue
Suxamethonium is a medication used to cause short-term paralysis as part of general anesthesia. It is primarily used for emergency/crash intubations.
Suxamethonium chloride injection is in short supply in Aotearoa New Zealand
We would like to reassure the sector that a complete “out of stock” scenario is unlikely if usage is carefully managed. However, risks to ongoing supply remain, and therefore please exercise caution.
The contracted supplier has sourced supply of an alternative brand of suxamethonium chloride injection from the UK. This is not Medsafe approved so will need to be supplied under Section 29 of the Medicines Act 1981.
Conserving suxamethonium injection supplies
We ask that clinicians:
- use alternatives to suxamethonium where clinically appropriate
- prepare for the need to use unapproved suxamethonium injections (in accordance with section 29 of the Medicines Act)
- share with us ways you and your colleagues are conserving suxamethonium, so that we can share these ideas with others where appropriate
- do not stockpile suxamethonium injection, this will impact on equitable access to stock across Aotearoa New Zealand and makes it very difficult for suppliers and PHARMAC to forecast future demand.
The Critical Care Advisory Group (CCAG) has advised us that alternatives that to suxamethonium chloride include:
- atracurium besylate
- vecuronium bromide
- pancuronium bromide.
What PHARMAC is doing
PHARMAC is actively working with suppliers of suxamethonium injection to ensure we continue receiving stock of this vital medicine.
Who to contact
If you have suggestions about ways to conserve suxamethonium, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated: 20 May 2020