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Dronedarone: An Alternative to Amiodarone?

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Objective: To review the safety and efficacy of the newly approved, mixed-activity antiarrhythmic dronedarone (classes I-IV) versus its parent compound comparator, amiodarone (class III, with mixed activity).

Data Sources: A MEDLINE/PUBMED (January 1966 to March 2010) and International Pharmaceutical Abstract (January 1975 to March 2010) search of English language papers in addition to a bibliographic search of retrieved papers.

Study Selection: All human studies of dronedarone, alone or in combination with amiodarone, were reviewed.

Data Synthesis: Approved in July 2009, dronedarone is a new antiarrhythmic agent indicated to reduce the risk of hospitalization for cardiac events in patients with paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter. Dronedarone has been viewed as a potential therapeutic alternative for amiodarone because of a lower risk for pulmonary, thyroid, and dermatologic adverse effects. Compared with amiodarone, dronedarone has poor bioavailability and a shorter terminal disposition half-life, which dictates a twice-daily dosing regimen. Furthermore, dronedarone failed to demonstrate superiority over amiodarone with respect to recurrence of atrial fibrillation in a comparative efficacy analysis. Dronedarone therapy is more costly and increases overall tablet burden. No dosage adjustments are required with dronedarone for renal impairment. Use of dronedarone is contraindicated in the presence of severe hepatic impairment. No serious organ-related toxicities (i.e., thyroid and pulmonary system) have been reported with use of dronedarone.

Conclusion: Dronedarone as a niche drug may be a reasonable theoretical alternative for patients who cannot tolerate amiodarone or have underlying comorbidities that contraindicate amiodarone use (e.g., pulmonary, thyroid disease). However, dronedarone has not been studied in the vast majority of indications and patient populations in which amiodarone has been studied.

Keywords: Amiodarone; Atrial fibrillation; Cardiac; Dronedarone

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-09-01

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