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Am Heart J. 1983 Oct;106(4 Pt 2):957-64.

Ten years of experience with amiodarone.


Arrhythmias may be controlled in most patients with recurrent supraventricular tachycardia or atrial fibrillation with small to moderate maintenance doses of amiodarone (100 to 400 mg/day). Moderate doses (400 mg/day) are also highly effective in suppressing "warning" ventricular arrhythmias in patients with chronic ischemic heart disease, particularly if the goal of treatment is to eliminate ventricular couplets, runs of ventricular tachycardia (VT), and the "R on T" phenomenon. Treatment and prevention of sustained recurrent VT and the malignant arrhythmias of chagasic myocarditis require, however, doses of about 800 mg/day, which may be higher than those needed for ischemic heart disease complicated by VT and ventricular fibrillation. Clinical studies suggest an elimination half-life for amiodarone of about 30 days (range 15 to 100 days). Thus there is a pretherapeutic latency period that varies according to the type of arrhythmia and the doses employed. The maximal effects (as well as the most significant adverse effects) are not attained before 90 to 150 days of treatment, and the antiarrhythmic protection may persist for varying intervals, up to 150 days or more, after the drug has been discontinued. Side effects are not negligible but are generally dose dependent. Despite these side effects, many patients have been treated by us with amiodarone for as long as 5 to 8 years--and for up to 10 years in some cases. Amiodarone appears to be one of the most promising drugs for the possible prevention of ventricular fibrillation and sudden death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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