Intravenous amiodarone
Kowey PR. Marinchak RA. Rials SJ. Filart RA.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 29(6):1190-8, 1997.
Intravenous amiodarone was approved in 1995 for the treatment of malignant and resistant ventricular arrhythmia. Although it is an "old drug," much has been learned recently about this complex drug and its application in a variety of cardiac arrhythmias. The objectives of this review were to summarize what is known about intravenous amiodarone, including its pharmacologic and electrophysiologic effects, to review its efficacy for the treatment of patients with highly malignant ventricular arrhythmia and to provide specific information about its clinical use for this and other indications. The studies that were reviewed were selected on the basis of time published (from 1983 to 1995) and the completeness of information provided regarding patient clinical characteristics, drug dosing and methods of evaluation, efficacy analyses, long-term follow-up and complications. The full data from the three controlled trials that formed the basis of the drug's approval are contained in published reports that were also extensively reviewed. Intravenous amiodarone has demonstrable efficacy for the treatment of frequently recurrent destabilizing ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation, with suppression rates of 63% to 91% in uncontrolled trials. The three pivotal trials confirmed these findings and demonstrated a dose-response relation, with at least comparable efficacy to bretylium, a drug with a similar indication. The safety profile has also been well described; cardiovascular adverse effects are the most frequent, especially hypotension. Intravenous amiodarone is a useful addition to the drugs available for the treatment of patients with very severe ventricular arrhythmia. Its use in patients with other rhythm disorders appears promising, but final recommendations must await development of definitive data from ongoing clinical trials.
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