Side effects may include low blood pressure and prolonged paralysis. Allergic reactions are rare. It is unclear if use in pregnancy is safe for the baby. Vecuronium is in the aminosteroid neuromuscular-blocker family of medications and is of the non-depolarizing type. It works by blocking the action of acetylcholine on skeletal muscles.
Vecuronium was approved for medical use in the United States in 1984. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system. Vecuronium is available as a generic medication. In the United States it is less than 25 USD a dose. The effects may be reversed with a combination of neostigmine and atropine.
Vecuronium operates by competing for the cholinoceptors at the motor end plate thereby exerting its muscle-relaxing properties which are used adjunctively to general anesthesia. Under balanced anesthesia, the time to recovery to 25% of control (clinical duration) is approximately 25 to 40 minutes after injection and recovery is usually 95% complete approximately 45 to 65 minutes after injection of intubating dose. The neuromuscular blocking action of vecuronium is slightly enhanced in the presence of potent inhalation anesthetics. If vecuronium is first administered more than 5 minutes after the start of the inhalation of enflurane, isoflurane, or halothane, or when a steady state has been achieved, the intubating dose of vecuronium may be decreased by approximately 15%.
As long ago as 1862, adventurer Don Ramon Paez described a Venezuelan poison, guachamaca, which the indigenous peoples used to lace sardines as bait for herons and cranes. If the head and neck of a bird so killed was cut off, the remainder of the flesh could safely be eaten. Paez also described the attempt of a Llanero woman to murder a rival to her lover's affections with guachamaca and unintentionally killed 10 other people when her husband shared his food with their guests. It is probable that the plant was Malouetia nitida or Malouetia schomburgki.
The genus Malouetia (Family Apocynaceae) is found in both South America and Africa. The botanist Robert E. Woodson Jr comprehensively classified the American species of Malouetia in 1935. At that time, only one African species of Malouetia was recognised, but the following year Woodson described a second: Malouetia bequaertiana, from the Belgian Congo.