How much are patients willing to pay to avoid postoperative muscle pain associated with succinylcholine?

Terrence K. Allen, Ashraf S. Habib, Guy L. Dear, William White, David Lubarsky, Tong J. Gan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Study Objective: To determine how much money patients are willing to pay to avoid postoperative muscle pains associated with succinylcholine. Design: Observational study with survey instrument. Setting: University-affiliated metropolitan hospital. Patients: Eighty-eight adult patients, 43 men and 45 women, who were scheduled to undergo surgery with general anesthesia and who completed a preoperative questionnaire (median age range, 41-50 y; median income, US$45,000-60,000). Interventions and Measurements: Patients completed a computerized, interactive questionnaire preoperatively. They were asked about demographics and previous experiences with muscle pain and postoperative myalgia. With the use of the willingness-to-pay model, the value that they would be willing to pay for a hypothetical muscle relaxant that avoided postoperative myalgia was determined. Main Results: Eighty-nine percent of patients considered avoiding postoperative myalgia as important. Patients were willing to pay a median (interquartile range) of $33 ($19-$50) out of pocket for a muscle relaxant that was not associated with postoperative myalgia, a figure that increased to $40 if the insurance company paid for the drug (P < 0.0001). Willingness to pay was influenced by patients' income but not by prior experience with postoperative myalgia. Conclusion: Patients consider avoidance of postoperative myalgia important and are willing to pay $33 out of pocket for a muscle relaxant that is not associated with this side effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-608
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Anesthesia
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Postoperative myalgia
  • Succinylcholine
  • Willingness to pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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