Randomized, double-blind comparison of intravenous amiodarone and bretylium in the treatment of patients with recurrent, hemodynamically destabilizing ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation
Kowey PR. Levine JH. Herre JM. Pacifico A. Lindsay BD. Plumb VJ. Janosik DL. Kopelman HA. Scheinman MM
Circulation. 92(11):3255-63, 1996.
After several days of loading, oral amiodarone, a class III antiarrhythmic, is highly effective in controlling ventricular tachyarrhythmias; however, the delay in onset of activity is not acceptable in patients with immediately life-threatening arrhythmias. Therefore, an intravenous form of therapy is advantageous. This study was designed to compare the safety and efficacy of a high and a low dose of intravenous amiodarone with bretylium, the only approved class III antiarrhythmic agent. A total of 302 patients with refractory, hemodynamically destabilizing ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation were enrolled in this double-blind trial at 82 medical centers in the United States. They were randomly assigned to therapy with intravenous bretylium (4.7 g) or intravenous amiodarone administered in a high dose (1.8 g) or a low dose (0.2 g). The primary analysis, arrhythmia event rate during the first 48 hours of therapy, showed comparable efficacy between the bretylium group and the high-dose (1000 mg/24 h) amiodarone group that was greater than that of the low-dose (125 mg/24 h) amiodarone group. Similar results were obtained in the secondary analyses of time to first event and the proportion of patients requiring supplemental infusions. Overall mortality in the 48-hour double-blind period was 13.6% and was not significantly different among the three treatment groups. Significantly more patients treated with bretylium had hypotension compared with the two amiodarone groups. More patients remained on the 1000-mg amiodarone regimen than on the other regimens. The authors conclude that bretylium and amiodarone appear to have comparable efficacies for the treatment of highly malignant ventricular arrhythmias. Bretylium use, however, may be limited by a high incidence of hypotension.
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