Managing atrial fibrillation in the elderly: critical appraisal of dronedarone
Paula Trigo, Gregory W Fischer
Department of Anesthesiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA
Abstract: Atrial fibrillation is the most commonly seen arrhythmia in the geriatric population and is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Treatment of the elderly with atrial fibrillation remains challenging for physicians, because this unique subpopulation is characterized by multiple comorbidities requiring chronic use of numerous medications, which can potentially lead to severe drug interactions. Furthermore, age-related changes in the cardiovascular system as well as other physiological changes result in altered drug pharmacokinetics. Dronedarone is a new drug recently approved for the treatment of arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation and/or atrial flutter. Dronedarone is a benzofuran amiodarone analog which lacks the iodine moiety and contains a methane sulfonyl group that decreases its lipophilicity. These differences in chemical structure are responsible for making dronedarone less toxic than amiodarone which, in turn, results in fewer side effects. Adverse events for dronedarone include gastrointestinal side effects and rash. No dosage adjustments are required for patients with renal impairment. However, the use of dronedarone is contraindicated in the presence of severe hepatic dysfunction.
Keywords: atrial fibrillation, elderly, antiarrhythmic agents, amiodarone, dronedarone
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