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Am J Cardiol. 1983 Nov 1;52(8):975-9.

Long-term efficacy and toxicity of high-dose amiodarone therapy for ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation.


Amiodarone was administered to 154 patients who had sustained, symptomatic ventricular tachycardia (VT) (n = 118) or a cardiac arrest (n = 36) and who were refractory to conventional antiarrhythmic drugs. The loading dose was 800 mg/day for 6 weeks and the maintenance dose was 600 mg/day. Sixty-nine percent of patients continued treatment with amiodarone and had no recurrence of symptomatic VT or ventricular fibrillation (VF) over a follow-up of 6 to 52 months (mean +/- standard deviation 14.2 +/- 8.2). Six percent of the patients had a nonfatal recurrence of VT and were successfully managed by continuing amiodarone at a higher dose or by the addition of a conventional antiarrhythmic drug. One or more adverse drug reactions occurred in 51% of patients. Adverse effects forced a reduction in the dose of amiodarone in 41% and discontinuation of amiodarone in 10% of patients. The most common symptomatic adverse reactions were tremor or ataxia (35%), nausea and anorexia (8%), visual halos or blurring (6%), thyroid function abnormalities (6%) and pulmonary interstitial infiltrates (5%). Although large-dose amiodarone is highly effective in the long-term treatment of VT or VF refractory to conventional antiarrhythmic drugs, it causes significant toxicity in approximately 50% of patients. However, when the dose is adjusted based on clinical response or the development of adverse effects, 75% of patients with VT or VF can be successfully managed with amiodarone.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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