METHODS: Concentrations of NMBAs were monitored by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) for a period of 14 days. Dilutions of NMBAs were prepared in saline by factors of 10x, 100x, 1,000x, and 100,000x as sensitivity of the assay allowed. Diluted drug products were stored in a laboratory refrigerator until sampling. On sampling days, aliquots of each dilution were removed and compared to a freshly prepared set of reference dilutions.
RESULTS: The results are measured as beyond use date (BUD) defined as recovery of drug versus the reference (90-110%). Based on the LC-MS/MS data, the BUD for cisatracurium diluted to 10x and 100x is 96 hours. Higher dilutions (1,000x to 100,000x) should be used immediately following preparation (within less than 24 hours). Vecuronium at 10x and 100x also has a BUD of 96 hours, and the 1,000x dilution is stable for 24 hours. The 10,000x dilution should be used immediately. Rocurium at 10x to 1,000x has a BUD of 48 hours, yet higher dilutions (10,000x and 100,000x) should be used immediately.
CONCLUSIONS: With increasing dilution factors, the stability of these drugs in saline decreases, increasing deviation between samples and references. The most stable dilutions for each of the drugs tested were 10x and 100x. Stability of these drugs is likely compromised by hydrolysis of the ester bonds in the drug molecules.