BACKGROUND: Intravenous injection of rocuronium is associated with withdrawal responses which are attributable to the pain from the injection of rocuronium. Several methods have been proposed to abolish and attenuate rocuronium-induced pain. We hypothesized priming dose of rocuronium could reduce withdrawal responses associated with administering a second large dose of rocuronium for tracheal intubation. We compared the efficacy of the priming dose technique of rocuronium with intravenous lidocaine as a pre-treatment for the prevention of withdrawal responses associated with rocuronium injection. METHODS: We recruited 150 patients aged between 18 and 60 years, ASA physical status 1 or 2, who were going to undergo elective surgery requiring general anesthesia. Patients were allocated into three groups. Group C received normal saline, Group L received lidocaine 1 mg/kg, and Group P received rocuronium 0.06 mg/kg 2 minutes before administering a second large dose of rocuronium for tracheal intubation. After the loss of consciousness, rocuronium 0.6 mg/kg was administered intravenously over 10 seconds for tracheal intubation. The withdrawal responses to the injection of rocuronium were evaluated. RESULTS: The incidence of withdrawal responses associated with rocuronium injection for tracheal intubation was 56, 50, 24% in group C, group L, and group P, respectively. The incidence of withdrawal responses was lower in group P than group C and group L, but there was no difference between group L and group C. CONCLUSIONS: Priming dose technique is a useful clinical method to alleviate withdrawal responses associated with rocuronium injection.