(e-droh-fone-ee-yum) ,


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Therapeutic: antidotes
Pharmacologic: anticholinesterases
Pregnancy Category: C


Diagnosis of myasthenia gravis.Assessment of adequacy of anticholinesterase therapy in myasthenia gravis.Differentiating myasthenic from cholinergic crisis.Reversal of muscle paralysis from nondepolarizing neuromuscular blocking agents.


Inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine so that it accumulates and has a prolonged effect. Effects include miosis; increased intestinal and skeletal muscle tone; bronchial constriction; bradycardia; increased salivation, lacrimation, and sweating.

Therapeutic effects

Short-lived improvement in muscular function in patients with myasthenia gravis.
Reversal of nondepolarizing neuromuscular blocking agents.


Absorption: Absorption following IM and subcut administration not known.
Distribution: 1.1 L/kg.
Metabolism and Excretion: Unknown.
Half-life: 73–126 min.

Time/action profile (cholinergic activity)

IM2–10 minunknown5–30 min
IV30–60 secunknown10 min


Contraindicated in: Hypersensitivity; Mechanical obstruction of the GI or GU tract; Hypersensitivity to bisulfites; Obstetric: May cause uterine irritability after IV administration near term; newborns may display muscle weakness; Lactation: Lactation.
Use Cautiously in: History of asthma; Cardiovascular disease; Because some patients may be extremely sensitive to the effects of anticholinesterases, atropine should be available in case of excessive dosage.

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

Central nervous system

  • seizures (life-threatening)
  • dizziness
  • dysphasia
  • dysphonia
  • weakness

Ear, Eye, Nose, Throat

  • diplopia
  • lacrimation
  • miosis


  • bronchospasm (most frequent)
  • excess secretions (most frequent)


  • bradycardia (most frequent)
  • hypotension


  • abdominal cramps (most frequent)
  • diarrhea (most frequent)
  • dysphagia
  • excess salivation (most frequent)
  • vomiting (most frequent)
  • nausea


  • incontinence
  • urinary frequency


  • sweating (most frequent)
  • rashes


  • fasciculation


Drug-Drug interaction

Action may be antagonized by drugs possessing anticholinergic properties, including antihistamines, antidepressants, atropine, haloperidol, phenothiazines, quinidine, and disopyramide.Prolongs action of depolarizing muscle-relaxing agents (succinylcholine, decamethonium ).May lead to ↑ bradycardia in patients receiving digoxin.Angel's trumpet, jimson weed, and scopolia may antagonize cholinergic effects.


Diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis
Intravenous (Adults) 2 mg; if no response, administer an additional 8 mg after 45 sec; may repeat test in 30 min. If cholinergic response occurs after initial 2 mg dose, administer atropine 0.4–0.5 mg IV. Patients >50 yr should be pretreated with atropine to prevent bradycardia/hypotension.
Intravenous (Children >34 kg) 2 mg; if no response after 45 sec, may administer 1 mg every 30–45 sec to a total of 10 mg.
Intravenous (Children <34 kg) 1 mg; if no response after 45 sec, may administer 1 mg every 45 sec to a total of 5 mg.
Intravenous (Infants) 0.5 mg.
Intramuscular (Adults) 10 mg. If cholinergic response occurs, may repeat 2-mg dose in 30 min to rule out false-negative reaction. Patients >50 yr should be pretreated with atropine to prevent bradycardia/hypotension.
Intramuscular (Children >34 kg) 5 mg.
Intramuscular (Children <34 kg) 2 mg.
Assessment of Anticholinesterase Therapy
Intravenous (Adults) 1–2 mg 1 hr after oral anticholinesterase dose.
Differentiation of Cholinergic from Myasthenic Crisis
Intravenous (Adults) 1 mg; may give additional 1 mg 1 min later.
Reversal of Nondepolarizing Neuromuscular Blocking Agents
Intravenous (Adults) 10 mg; may repeat as needed (not to exceed 40 mg). Doses of 0.5–1 mg/kg have been used.


Injection: 10 mg/mL
In combination with: atropine (Enlon-Plus). (See combination drugs).

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess neuromuscular status (ptosis, diplopia, vital capacity, ability to swallow, extremity strength) prior to and immediately after administration.
    • Reversal of nondepolarizing neuromuscular blocking agents is more rapid in pediatric patients.
    • To differentiate myasthenic from cholinergic crisis, assess for increased weakness, diaphoresis, increased saliva and bronchial secretions, dyspnea, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bradycardia. If these symptoms occur after administration of edrophonium, patient is in cholinergic crisis. If strength improves after administration of edrophonium, patient is in myasthenic crisis.
  • Atropine may be used for treatment of cholinergic symptoms. Oxygen and resuscitation equipment should be available.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Ineffective breathing pattern (Indications)


  • For myasthenia gravis patients, diagnostic IV dose and dose to differentiate myasthenic from cholinergic crisis should be administered by a physician.
  • Intravenous Administration
  • Diluent: Administer undiluted with a tuberculin syringe. Concentration: 10 mg/mL.
  • Rate: Administer doses over 30–45 sec.
  • Y-Site Compatibility: heparin, hydrocortisone, potassium chloride, vitamin B complex with C

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Inform patient that the effects of this medication last up to 30 min.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Relief of myasthenic symptoms.
  • Differentiation of myasthenic from cholinergic crisis.
  • Reversal of paralysis after anesthesia.
Drug Guide, © 2015 Farlex and Partners


Edrophonium chloride Pharmacology A short-acting anticholinesterase used to diagnose myasthenia gravis and reverse the effects of nondepolarizing neuromuscular blockers. See Myasthenia gravis, Reversal agent.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
(47) (b) Using a load-testing machine, Tensilon RTM-25 Orientic, bending moment of the internode at breaking (BMB; g-cm) was assessed as described by Ookawa and Ishihara.
The tensile and Young's modulus were determined using a Tensilon RTG-1310 universal testing machine with a load cell of 10 kN.
Tensilon test by injection of IV edrophonium and demonstration of improvement of muscle weakness is usually reserved in patients with typical clinical features and negative serological and electrophysiological testing [2].
She later developed acute ophthalmoplegia with bilateral ptosis, at which time she was diagnosed using electromyography (EMG) and the Tensilon test.
However, Tensilon test (TT) and electromyography (EMG) were both suggestive of generalized MG, excluding the congenital myasthenic syndromes and other conditions mimicking MG.
Tensilon test was suggestive of MG, and acetylcholine receptor antibody (anti-AChR) test was positive.
To measure the orientational birefringence Anor, polymer films with a thickness of about 40 [micro]m were uniaxially drawn at their [T.sub.g] + 10[degrees]C and 25%/min using a universal tensile testing machine (Tensilon RTC-1210A, A&D).
Compressive tests were conducted using a universal testing machine (Tensilon RTF-2350; A&D) with a load speed of 0.3 mm [min.sup.-1].
The present study has several limitations; for instance, seronegative MG patients included 85.5% of all patients and false negatives could not be defined using other diagnostic examinations, such as electromyogram, Neostigmine test, and Tensilon test.
The diagnosis of MG was confirmed by means of electromyography, the presence of anti-nicotinic antibodies in the serum, and a positive Tensilon Test.
The common diagnostic test is using the anticholinesterase edrophonium (tensilon test) or neostigmine for reversal of muscle weakness.