Cordarone is intended for use only in patients with the indicated life-threatening arrhythmias because its use is accompanied by substantial toxicity.
Cordarone has several potentially fatal toxicities, the most important of which is pulmonary toxicity (hypersensitivity pneumonitis or interstitial/alveolar pneumonitis) that has resulted in clinically manifest disease at rates as high as 10 to 17% in some series of patients with ventricular arrhythmias given doses around 400 mg/day, and as abnormal diffusion capacity without symptoms in a much higher percentage of patients. Pulmonary toxicity has been fatal about 10% of the time. Liver injury is common with Cordarone, but is usually mild and evidenced only by abnormal liver enzymes. Overt liver disease can occur, however, and has been fatal in a few cases. Like other antiarrhythmics, Cordarone can exacerbate the arrhythmia, e.g., by making the arrhythmia less well tolerated or more difficult to reverse. This has occurred in 2 to 5% of patients in various series, and significant heart block or sinus bradycardia has been seen in 2 to 5%. All of these events should be manageable in the proper clinical setting in most cases. Although the frequency of such proarrhythmic events does not appear greater with Cordarone than with many other agents used in this population, the effects are prolonged when they occur.
Even in patients at high risk of arrhythmic death, in whom the toxicity of Cordarone is an acceptable risk, Cordarone poses major management problems that could be life-threatening in a population at risk of sudden death, so that every effort should be made to utilize alternative agents first.
The difficulty of using Cordarone effectively and safely itself poses a significant risk to patients. Patients with the indicated arrhythmias must be hospitalized while the loading dose of Cordarone is given, and a response generally requires at least one week, usually two or more. Because absorption and elimination are variable, maintenance-dose selection is difficult, and it is not unusual to require dosage decrease or discontinuation of treatment. In a retrospective survey of 192 patients with ventricular tachyarrhythmias, 84 required dose reduction and 18 required at least temporary discontinuation because of adverse effects, and several series have reported 15 to 20% overall frequencies of discontinuation due to adverse reactions. The time at which a previously controlled life-threatening arrhythmia will recur after discontinuation or dose adjustment is unpredictable, ranging from weeks to months. The patient is obviously at great risk during this time and may need prolonged hospitalization. Attempts to substitute other antiarrhythmic agents when Cordarone must be stopped will be made difficult by the gradually, but unpredictably, changing amiodarone body burden. A similar problem exists when Cordarone is not effective; it still poses the risk of an interaction with whatever subsequent treatment is tried.
Cordarone (amiodarone HCl) is a member of a new class of antiarrhythmic drugs with predominantly Class III (Vaughan Williams' classification) effects, available for oral administration as pink, scored tablets containing 200 mg of amiodarone hydrochloride.
Because of its life-threatening side effects and the substantial management difficulties associated with its use (see “WARNINGS” below), Cordarone is indicated only for the treatment of the following documented, life-threatening recurrent ventricular arrhythmias when these have not responded to documented adequate doses of other available antiarrhythmics or when alternative agents could not be tolerated.
- Recurrent ventricular fibrillation.
- Recurrent hemodynamically unstable ventricular tachycardia.
As is the case for other antiarrhythmic agents, there is no evidence from controlled trials that the use of Cordarone Tablets favorably affects survival.
Cordarone should be used only by physicians familiar with and with access to (directly or through referral) the use of all available modalities for treating recurrent life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias, and who have access to appropriate monitoring facilities, including in-hospital and ambulatory continuous electrocardiographic monitoring and electrophysiologic techniques. Because of the life-threatening nature of the arrhythmias treated, potential interactions with prior therapy, and potential exacerbation of the arrhythmia, initiation of therapy with Cordarone should be carried out in the hospital.
Published Studies Related to Cordarone (Amiodarone)
Amiodarone significantly decreases atrial fibrillation in patients undergoing
surgery for lung cancer. 
permanent stroke, acute myocardial infarction, and death... CONCLUSIONS: Postoperative prophylaxis with a high dose of oral amiodarone after
Efficacy and Safety of Celivarone, With Amiodarone as Calibrator, in Patients With an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator for Prevention of Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator Interventions or Death: The ALPHEE Study. [2011.11.14]
CONCLUSIONS: Celivarone was not effective for the prevention of ICD interventions or sudden death. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00993382.
Pharmacokinetics of intravenous amiodarone and its electrocardiographic effects on healthy Japanese subjects. [2011.05]
The aim of this phase I, dose-escalating study was to evaluate the pharmacokinetics, electrocardiographic effect and safety of amiodarone after a single intravenous administration in Japanese subjects. Thirty-two healthy Japanese male volunteers (20-32 years) were randomized to three single-dose groups (1.25, 2.5 and 5.0 mg/kg)...
A randomized active-controlled study comparing the efficacy and safety of vernakalant to amiodarone in recent-onset atrial fibrillation. [2011.01.18]
OBJECTIVES: This randomized double-blind study compared the efficacy and safety of intravenous vernakalant and amiodarone for the acute conversion of recent-onset atrial fibrillation (AF). BACKGROUND: Intravenous vernakalant has effectively converted recent-onset AF and was well tolerated in placebo-controlled studies... CONCLUSIONS: Vernakalant demonstrated efficacy superior to amiodarone for acute conversion of recent-onset AF. Both vernakalant and amiodarone were safe and well tolerated in this study. (A Phase III Superiority Study of Vernakalant vs Amiodarone in Subjects With Recent Onset Atrial Fibrillation [AVRO]; NCT00668759). Copyright A(c) 2011 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A randomized active-controlled study comparing the efficacy and safety of
vernakalant to amiodarone in recent-onset atrial fibrillation. 
was well tolerated in placebo-controlled studies... CONCLUSIONS: Vernakalant demonstrated efficacy superior to amiodarone for acute
Clinical Trials Related to Cordarone (Amiodarone)
Effect of Prophylaxy of Amiodarone and Propranolol and Amiodarone With Propranolol in Prevention of Atrial Fibrillation Post Coronary Artery Bypass Graft [Completed]
Catheter Ablation Versus Amiodarone for Shock Prophylaxis in Defibrillator Patients With Ventricular Tachycardia [Not yet recruiting]
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs) provide a shock or pacing therapy to bring
back a normal heart beat when a patient experiences a dangerous abnormal heart rhythm such
as ventricular tachycardia (VT). ICDs are very successful in bringing back a normal heart
beat when VT occurs, but they do not prevent further dangerous heart rhythms from occurring.
This study is designed to determine the best way to manage patients who have an ICD and who
continue to have episodes of VT. There are two methods for treatment the VT: 1) Ablation,
and 2) Medication.
An ablation procedure involves placing a flexible catheter (insulated wire) in the groin
area and threading it into the heart. After the doctor has located the affected area
responsible for the VT, radiofrequency energy is delivered by the power generator through
the catheter to the inside of the heart. The radiofrequency energy ablates (burns) a small
area of the heart tissue thought to cause the VT.
A medication called Amiodarone is an "anti-arrhythmic" prescribed to prevent abnormal heart
rhythms from recurring.
The purpose of this study is to compare these two different methods for treating VT.
Treatment with ablation and amiodarone are both considered the standard of care for patients
with VT but they have not been compared directly in a study like this before.
Minocycline Plus Amiodarone Versus Amiodarone Alone for the Prevention of Atrial Fibrillation After Cardiac Surgery [Recruiting]
Postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) is a common complication after heart surgery.
Amiodarone is the drug of choice to treat POAF. Inflammation is considered one of underlying
factor for POAF. Minocycline is an antibiotic with anti-inflammatory properties.
Effect of Amiodarone on the Procedure Outcome in Long-standing Persistent Atrial Fibrillation Undergoing Pulmonary Vein Antral Isolation [Recruiting]
Amiodarone Compared to Dronedarone , Post Cardioversion Maintenance of Sinus Rhythm [Not yet recruiting]
Persistent Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is a common and distressing cardiac arrhythmia and
accounts for 1% of the healthcare budget in the UK and it's prevalence is rising. Symptoms
of atrial fibrillation include palpitations, chest pain , shortness of breath and fatigue,
with quality of life measures reduced for patients with persistent AF, increased stroke risk
and increased all cause mortality rates. DC Cardioversion is used to restore normal sinus
rhythm in patients with persistent AF. It has a high success rate but reoccurence of AF is
common. The use of anti arrhythmic drugs (AADs) can augment the number of patients remaining
in sinus rhythm at one year, with amiodarone currently the most superior. Unfortunately it
can have serious side affects. Dronedarone is a related drug designed specifically to
minimise the most serious side affects and is no approved and used prominently in the
management of non permanent AF. However it has not yet been studied in a post DC
Patients in persistent AF who are referred for elective DC Cardioversionwill be randomised
to receive either Amiodarone or Dronedarone to compare the ability to help maintain sinu
rhythm post cardioverion in one NHS hospital. Patients will be followed up for a year post
cardioversion to see if they stay in sinus rhythm.
Ho: there will be no difference in maintenance of sinus rhythm with the use of amiodarone or
Reports of Suspected Cordarone (Amiodarone) Side Effects
Interstitial Lung Disease (37),
Drug Interaction (36),
Renal Failure (29),
Atrial Fibrillation (26),
Cardiac Arrest (26),
Torsade DE Pointes (22), more >>
Page last updated: 2013-02-10