OBJECTIVE Different additives have been used to prolong brachial plexus block. We evaluated the effect of adding magnesium sulfate to ropivacaine for supraclavicular brachial plexus blockade. The primary endpoints were the onset and duration of sensory and motor block and duration of analgesia. METHODS One hundred patients (25-55 years) posted for elective forearm and hand surgeries under supraclavicular brachial plexus block were divided into two equal groups (Groups RM and RN) in a randomized, double-blind fashion. In group RM (n = 50), 30 ml 0.5% ropivacaine plus 150 mg (in 1 ml 0.9% saline) magnesium sulfate and in group RN (n = 50), 30 ml 0.5% ropivacaine plus 1 ml normal saline were administered in supraclavicular block. Sensory and motor block onset times and block durations, time to first analgesic use, total analgesic need, postoperative visual analog scale (VAS), hemodynamic variables, and side effects were recorded for each patient. FINDINGS Though with similar demographic profile and block (sensory and motor) onset time, the sensory and motor block duration and time to first analgesic use were significantly longer and the total need for rescue analgesics was lower in group RM (P = 0.026) than group RN. Postoperative VAS values at 24 h were significantly lower in group RM (P = 0.045). Intraoperative hemodynamics was comparable among two groups and no appreciable side effect was noted throughout the study period. CONCLUSION It can be concluded from this study that adding magnesium sulfate to supraclavicular brachial plexus block may increase the sensory and motor block duration and time to first analgesic use, and decrease total analgesic needs, with no side effects.