Management of atrial fibrillation: focus on the role of dronedarone
Judy WM Cheng1,2
1Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Boston, MA, USA; 2Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
Background: Dronedarone is an amiodarone derivative that was approved in the US in July 2009 to reduce the risk of cardiovascular hospitalization in patients with paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation (AF), who are in sinus rhythm (SR), or who will be cardioverted.
Objective: This article reviews the pharmacology, adverse effects, and clinical evidence available to date on the use of dronedarone in the management of AF and its potential role in the emergency department setting.
Results: In the EURIDIS and ADONIS studies evaluating the efficacy of dronedarone in maintaining SR, dronedarone significantly reduced the risk of recurrence of AF compared to placebo, by 22% and 27%, respectively. The ERATO study examined the ability of dronedarone to control ventricular rate in permanent AF. The DIONYSOS study demonstrated that recurrences of AF were more frequent with dronedarone. However, discontinuation of therapy due to intolerance was more frequent with amiodarone. Furthermore, the ATHENA study demonstrated that dronedarone reduced mortality and cardiovascular hospitalization by 24% (P < 0.05) in patients in SR but with other associated risks and a history of AF. However, the ANDROMEDA study, evaluating the use of dronedarone in patients with recent decompensated heart failure, and the PALLAS study, evaluating the use of dronedarone in patients with chronic AF, were both terminated prematurely due to a trend toward an increased risk of cardiovascular events.
Conclusion: Dronedarone has been demonstrated to be effective in reducing the incidence of AF recurrence. It appears to be less effective but better tolerated than amiodarone. Dronedarone appears to have a low proarrhythmic risk and is the first anti-arrhythmic that has been demonstrated to reduce cardiovascular mortality and cardiovascular hospitalization in clinically stable patients with other risk factors for recurrent AF. Therefore, dronedarone can be recommended as an anti-arrhythmic of choice in clinically stable patients for maintaining SR. If dronedarone is to be used in a patient with chronic stable heart failure, the patient must be monitored closely for any worsening of heart failure symptoms. The drug must be discontinued should the heart failure symptoms worsen.
Keywords: dronedarone, atrial fibrillation, anti-arrhythmics
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