The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has introduced new warnings for neuromuscular blocking agents (NMBA). NMBAs available in Australia are atracurium, cisatracurium, mivacurium, pancuronium, rocuronium, vecuronium, and suxamethonium. These medications are considered high-risk as unintentional administration to a patient who is not intubated or ventilated can cause catastrophic injuries or death.

The below warning statement will be required to appear on the primary pack and individual dosing units of all medicines containing NMBAs. Abbreviated statements may be allowed on very small containers, and the coloured background will not be required on plastic ampoules due to manufacturing limitations. Medicine sponsors have until September 2020 to implement these changes and move old stock. However, the transition period has begun and new stock will begin to appear with these warnings.

These warning statements are designed to prevent selection errors and alert healthcare professionals to the potential harm these medicines can cause if used in error. Hospital policy should continue to be adhered to with regards to storage requirements, drug verification, and administration procedures for these agents.

References:

  1. Department of Health. New warnings on labels of medicines containing neuromuscular blocking agents. Woden: Therapeutic Goods Administration; 2018.

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