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Synthesis and Structure-Activity Relationships of Neuromuscular Blocking Agents

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The first use of neuromuscular blocking agents (muscle relaxants) in clinical practice (1942) revolutionised the practice of anaesthesia and started the modern era of surgery. Since 1942 introduction of tubocurarine (18) neuromuscular blocking agents have been used routinely to provide skeletal muscle relaxation during surgical procedures allowing access to body cavities without hindrance from voluntary or reflex muscle movement. After the introduction of tubocurarine and the depolarizing suxamethonium chloride (4) (1949) several nondepolarizing steroidal and nonsteroidal neuromuscular blocking agents with different onset time and duration of effect were introduced e.g. gallamine triethiodide (1) (1949), methocurine (2) (1949), alcuronium chloride (3) (1963), pancuronium bromide (9) (1968), vecuronium bromide (11) (1982), pipecuronium bromide (10) (1982), atracurium besylate (5) (1982), doxacurium chloride (6) (1991), mivacurium chloride (8) (1992), rocuronium bromide (12) (1994) cisatracurium besylate (7) (1996), and rapacuronium bromide (13) (2000) (Fig. (1)). SZ-1677 (14) a steroid type nondepolarizing neuromuscular blocking agent under development (preclinical phase) (Fig. (2)).

This review article deals with a comprehensive survey of the progress in chemical, pharmacological and, in some respects, of clinical studies of neuromuscular blocking agents used in the clinical practice and under development, including the synthesis, structure elucidation, pharmacological actions, structure-activity relationships studies of steroidal and nonsteroidal derivatives.
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Keywords: (muscle relaxants); neuromuscular blocking agents; neuromuscular blocking drugs

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 2002-08-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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