Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice

Sugammadex in Ontario hospitals: Access and institutional policies

Early View

Abstract Rationale and aims Sugammadex is a novel neuromuscular blockade reversal agent which rapidly reverses the effects of rocuronium and vecuronium. Compared with the first‐generation neuromuscular blockade reversal agent, neostigmine, sugammadex has a number of superior properties; however, sugammadex is significantly more expensive per dose compared with neostigmine (~CAD$95 vs $4). Given the high cost of sugammadex, many Ontario hospitals either do not stock the drug or have specific policies on when the drug can be administered. This study was designed to determine access to sugammadex in Ontario hospitals, as well as the prevalence and content of institutional policies on its use. Methods We designed a survey assessing the availability of sugammadex and institutional policies on its use. We identified 60 Ontario hospitals with surgical services and obtained contact information for 45 of the anaesthesia departments. Surveys were sent to each department chief, and results were collected from July to October 2018. Results Thirty‐four (75.6%) hospitals responded to the survey. Twenty‐seven (79.4%) of the 34 respondent hospitals had sugammadex. Of the seven hospitals that did not have sugammadex, six were group B hospitals, and one was a paediatric hospital. Of the 27 hospitals with sugammadex, 16 (59.3%) hospitals had specific policies on when sugammadex may be used. Based on policies, sugammadex was most frequently allowed to be used in emergency situations, especially failed intubations or “can't intubate, can't ventilate” situations where 100% of policies allowed its use. Policies on specific patient populations for sugammadex use were uncommon, with 43.8% of existing hospital policies not specifying any patient populations. Conclusions Though most hospitals have sugammadex available, there is a marked heterogeneity in hospital policies on its use. Given the high cost of sugammadex use, it is worthwhile to have evidence‐based policies on its use. Judicious use of sugammadex may also have secondary cost‐saving benefits, through improved operating room efficiency and decreased complication rates.

Related Topics

Related Publications

Related Content

Site Footer


This website is provided by John Wiley & Sons Limited, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 8SQ (Company No: 00641132, VAT No: 376766987)

Published features on are checked for statistical accuracy by a panel from the European Network for Business and Industrial Statistics (ENBIS)   to whom Wiley and express their gratitude. This panel are: Ron Kenett, David Steinberg, Shirley Coleman, Irena Ograjenšek, Fabrizio Ruggeri, Rainer Göb, Philippe Castagliola, Xavier Tort-Martorell, Bart De Ketelaere, Antonio Pievatolo, Martina Vandebroek, Lance Mitchell, Gilbert Saporta, Helmut Waldl and Stelios Psarakis.