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Circulation. 1988 Jan;77(1):200-8.

The antiarrhythmic efficacy of amiodarone and desethylamiodarone, alone and in combination, in dogs with acute myocardial infarction.

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Department of Pharmacology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Antiarrhythmic activity of amiodarone's desethyl metabolite, which accumulates during oral amiodarone therapy, has been postulated to explain the delayed onset of antiarrhythmic effects during long-term amiodarone therapy. To determine their relative antiarrhythmic efficacy, amiodarone and its desethyl metabolite, desethylamiodarone, were administered to mongrel dogs with ventricular tachycardia 24 hr after ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery. Cumulative doses of amiodarone, desethylamiodarone, a combination of amiodarone and desethylamiodarone, or the vehicle for drug administration were given at 1 hr intervals. Both amiodarone and desethylamiodarone suppressed ventricular arrhythmias in a dose-dependent fashion. The metabolite, however, was more potent with a 50% effective concentration for suppression of premature ventricular complexes of 1.4 mg/liter compared with 4.6 mg/liter for the parent compound. Plasma and myocardial drug concentrations were similar to those measured during long-term amiodarone therapy in man, with desethylamiodarone producing greater myocardial concentrations than amiodarone for a given plasma concentration. Coadministration of the metabolite along with the parent drug resulted in suppression of arrhythmias at lower doses of amiodarone than when the latter was administered alone, and concentration-response analysis indicated an additive antiarrhythmic effect. These experiments suggest that the accumulation of desethylamiodarone that occurs with long-term oral amiodarone therapy contributes importantly to the antiarrhythmic effects of the drug, and may account for the gradual increase in antiarrhythmic action during the course of amiodarone therapy.

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