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Chronic neurological deficits have been described in patients after presumed accidental subarachnoid injection of 2-chloroprocaine-CE (Nesacaine-CE; N-CE) intended for epidural block. This study investigated the possible role of pure 2-chloroprocaine (2-CP) and sodium bisulfite, two components of Nesacaine-CE, in causing these complications when injected separately into the lumbar subarachnoid space of neurologically intact awake rabbits. Repeated 2–4-mg spinal anesthetic doses of pure 2-CP in lactated Ringer's solution did not produce chronic hindlimb paralysis even though accumulated doses reached 50 mg. However, 1.2–2.4 mg of sodium bisulfite, the antioxidant in N-CE added to prolong shelf-life, resulted in irreversible hindlimb paralysis in 12 out of 14 animals. This amount of bisulfite is contained in 12–24 mg of 2% N-CE. The demonstration that persistent paralysis resulted from low dosages of sodium bisulfite contained in commercially available 2-CP requires revaluation of the suitability of this antioxidant for products prepared for intrathecal use.