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Sotalol (Sotalol Hydrochloride) - Indications and Dosage



Oral sotalol hydrochloride is indicated for the treatment of documented ventricular arrhythmias, such as sustained ventricular tachycardia, that in the judgment of the physician are life-threatening. Because of the proarrhythmic effects of sotalol (see WARNINGS), including a 1.5 to 2% rate of torsade de pointes or new VT/VF in patients with either NSVT or supraventricular arrhythmias, its use in patients with less severe arrhythmias, even if the patients are symptomatic, is generally not recommended. Treatment of patients with asymptomatic ventricular premature contractions should be avoided.

Initiation of sotalol treatment or increasing doses, as with other antiarrhythmic agents used to treat life-threatening arrhythmias, should be carried out in the hospital. The response to treatment should then be evaluated by a suitable method (e.g., PES or Holter monitoring) prior to continuing the patient on chronic therapy. Various approaches have been used to determine the response to antiarrhythmic therapy, including sotalol.

In the ESVEM Trial, response by Holter monitoring was tentatively defined as 100% suppression of ventricular tachycardia, 90% suppression of non-sustained VT, 80% suppression of paired VPCs, and 75% suppression of total VPCs in patients who had at least 10 VPCs/hour at baseline; this tentative response was confirmed if VT lasting 5 or more beats was not observed during treadmill exercise testing using a standard Bruce protocol. The PES protocol utilized a maximum of three extrastimuli at three pacing cycle lengths and two right ventricular pacing sites. Response by PES was defined as prevention of induction of the following: 1) monomorphic VT lasting over 15 seconds; 2) non-sustained polymorphic VT containing more than 15 beats of monomorphic VT in patients with a history of monomorphic VT; 3) polymorphic VT or VF greater than 15 beats in patients with VF or a history of aborted sudden death without monomorphic VT; and 4) two episodes of polymorphic VT or VF of greater than 15 beats in a patient presenting with monomorphic VT. Sustained VT or NSVT producing hypotension during the final treadmill test was considered a drug failure.

In a multicenter open-label long-term study of sotalol in patients with life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias which had proven refractory to other antiarrhythmic medications, response by Holter monitoring was defined as in ESVEM. Response by PES was defined as non-inducibility of sustained VT by at least double extrastimuli delivered at a pacing cycle length of 400 msec. Overall survival and arrhythmia recurrence rates in this study were similar to those seen in ESVEM, although there was no comparative group to allow a definitive assessment of outcome.

Antiarrhythmic drugs have not been shown to enhance survival in patients with ventricular arrhythmias.

Sotalol is also indicated for the maintenance of normal sinus rhythm [delay in time to recurrence of atrial fibrillation/atrial flutter (AFIB/AFL)] in patients with symptomatic AFIB/AFL who are currently in sinus rhythm and is marketed under the brand name Betapace AF®. Sotalol Hydrochloride Tablets are not approved for the AFIB/AFL indication and should not be substituted for Betapace AF® because only Betapace AF® is distributed with a patient package insert that is appropriate for patients with AFIB/AFL.


As with other antiarrhythmic agents, sotalol hydrochloride should be initiated and doses increased in a hospital with facilities for cardiac rhythm monitoring and assessment (see INDICATIONS AND USAGE). Sotalol should be administered only after appropriate clinical assessment (see INDICATIONS AND USAGE), and the dosage of sotalol hydrochloride must be individualized for each patient on the basis of therapeutic response and tolerance. Proarrhythmic events can occur not only at initiation of therapy, but also with each upward dosage adjustment.


Dosage of sotalol hydrochloride should be adjusted gradually, allowing 3 days between dosing increments in order to attain steady-state plasma concentrations, and to allow monitoring of QT intervals. Graded dose adjustment will help prevent the usage of doses which are higher than necessary to control the arrhythmia. The recommended initial dose is 80 mg twice daily. This dose may be increased, if necessary, after appropriate evaluation to 240 or 320 mg/day (120 to 160 mg twice daily). In most patients, a therapeutic response is obtained at a total daily dose of 160 to 320 mg/day, given in two or three divided doses. Some patients with life-threatening refractory ventricular arrhythmias may require doses as high as 480 to 640 mg/day; however, these doses should only be prescribed when the potential benefit outweighs the increased risk of adverse events, in particular proarrhythmia. Because of the long terminal elimination half-life of sotalol, dosing on more than a BID regimen is usually not necessary.


As in adults the following precautionary measures should be considered when initiating sotalol treatment in children: initiation of treatment in the hospital after appropriate clinical assessment; individualized regimen as appropriate; gradual increase of doses if required; careful assessment of therapeutic response and tolerability; and frequent monitoring of the QTc interval and heart rate.

For children aged about 2 years and greater

For children aged about 2 years and greater, with normal renal function, doses normalized for body surface area are appropriate for both initial and incremental dosing. Since the Class III potency in children (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY) is not very different from that in adults, reaching plasma concentrations that occur within the adult dose range is an appropriate guide. From pediatric pharmacokinetic data the following is recommended.

For initiation of treatment, 30 mg/m2 three times a day (90 mg/m2 total daily dose) is approximately equivalent to the initial 160 mg total daily dose for adults. Subsequent titration to a maximum of 60 mg/m2 (approximately equivalent to the 360 mg total daily dose for adults) can then occur. Titration should be guided by clinical response, heart rate and QTc, with increased dosing being preferably carried out in-hospital. At least 36 hours should be allowed between dose increments to attain steady-state plasma concentrations of sotalol in patients with age-adjusted normal renal function.

For children aged about 2 years or younger

For children aged about 2 years or younger, the above pediatric dosage should be reduced by a factor that depends heavily upon age, as shown in the following graph, age plotted on a logarithmic scale in months.

For a child aged 20 months, the dosing suggested for children with normal renal function aged 2 years or greater should be multiplied by about 0.97; the initial starting dose would be (30 X 0.97) = 29.1 mg/m2, administered three times daily. For a child aged 1 month, the starting dose should be multiplied by 0.68; the initial starting dose would be (30 X 0.68) = 20 mg/m2, administered three times daily. For a child aged about 1 week, the initial starting dose should be multiplied by 0.3; the starting dose would be (30 X 0.3) = 9 mg/m2. Similar calculations should be made for increased doses as titration proceeds. Since the half-life of sotalol decreases with decreasing age (below about 2 years), time to steady-state will also increase. Thus, in neonates the time to steady-state may be as long as a week or longer.

In all children, individualization of dosage is required. As in adults sotalol hydrochloride should be used with particular caution in children if the QTc is greater than 500 msec on therapy, and serious consideration should be given to reducing the dose or discontinuing therapy when QTc exceeds 550 msec.

Dosage in Renal Impairment


Because sotalol is excreted predominantly in urine and its terminal elimination half-life is prolonged in conditions of renal impairment, the dosing interval (time between divided doses) of sotalol should be modified (when creatinine clearance is lower than 60 mL/min) according to the following table.

 >60  12
 30 to 59  24
 10 to 29  36 to 48
 <10  Dose should be individualized

aThe initial dose of 80 mg and subsequent doses should be administered at these intervals. See following paragraph for dosage escalations.

Since the terminal elimination half-life of sotalol hydrochloride is increased in patients with renal impairment, a longer duration of dosing is required to reach steady-state. Dose escalations in renal impairment should be done after administration of at least 5 to 6 doses at appropriate intervals (see table above). Extreme caution should be exercised in the use of sotalol in patients with renal failure undergoing hemodialysis. The half-life of sotalol is prolonged (up to 69 hours) in anuric patients. Sotalol, however, can be partly removed by dialysis with subsequent partial rebound in concentrations when dialysis is completed. Both safety (heart rate, QT interval) and efficacy (arrhythmia control) must be closely monitored.


The use of sotalol hydrochloride in children with renal impairment has not been investigated. Sotalol elimination is predominantly via the kidney in the unchanged form. Use of sotalol in any age group with decreased renal function should be at lower doses or at increased intervals between doses. Monitoring of heart rate and QTc is more important and it will take much longer to reach steady-state with any dose and/or frequency of administration.

Transfer to Sotalol

Before starting sotalol, previous antiarrhythmic therapy should generally be withdrawn under careful monitoring for a minimum of 2 to 3 plasma half-lives if the patient's clinical condition permits (see Drug Interactions). Treatment has been initiated in some patients receiving I.V. lidocaine without ill effect. After discontinuation of amiodarone, sotalol should not be initiated until the QT interval is normalized (see WARNINGS).

Preparation of Extemporaneous Oral Solution

Sotalol hydrochloride syrup 5 mg/mL can be compounded using Simple Syrup containing 0.1% sodium benzoate (Syrup, NF) available from Humco Laboratories as follows:

  1. Measure 120 mL of Simple Syrup.
  2. Transfer the syrup to a 6-ounce amber plastic (polyethylene terephthalate [PET]) prescription bottle. NOTE: An oversized bottle is used to allow for a headspace, so that there will be more effective mixing during shaking of the bottle.
  3. Add five (5) sotalol hydrochloride 120 mg tablets to the bottle. These tablets are added intact; it is not necessary to crush the tablets. NOTE: The addition of the tablets can also be done first. The tablets can also be crushed if preferred. If the tablets are crushed, care should be taken to transfer the entire quantity of tablet powder into the bottle containing the syrup.
  4. Shake the bottle to wet the entire surface of the tablets. If the tablets have been crushed, shake the bottle until the endpoint is achieved.
  5. Allow the tablets to hydrate for at least two hours.
  6. After at least two hours have elapsed, shake the bottle intermittently over the course of at least another two hours until the tablets are completely disintegrated. NOTE: The tablets can be allowed to hydrate overnight to simplify the disintegration process.

The endpoint is achieved when a dispersion of fine particles in the syrup is obtained.

This compounding procedure results in a solution containing 5 mg/mL of sotalol HCI. The fine solid particles are the water-insoluble inactive ingredients of the tablets.

This extemporaneously prepared oral solution of sotalol HCI (with suspended inactive particles) must be shaken well prior to administration. This is to ensure that the amount of inactive solid particles per dose remains constant throughout the duration of use.

Stability studies indicate that the suspension is stable for three months when stored at controlled room temperature (20°-25°C/68°-77°F) and ambient humidity.

Transfer to Betapace AF® from Sotalol

Patients with a history of symptomatic AFIB/AFL who are currently receiving sotalol for the maintenance of normal sinus rhythm should be transferred to Betapace AF® because of the significant differences in labeling (i.e., patient package insert for Betapace AF®, dosing administration, and safety information).


Sotalol hydrochloride; capsule-shaped bisected light-blue scored tablets, are available as follows:

80 mg strength imprinted “58/75” on one side and “V” on the reverse side available in the following configurations:

NDC: 35356-935-30  Bottles of 30

NDC: 35356-935-60  Bottles of 60

NDC: 35356-935-90  Bottles of 90

120 mg strength imprinted “58/76” on one side and “V” on the reverse side available in the following configurations:

160 mg strength imprinted “58/77” on one side and “V” on the reverse side available in the following configurations:

240 mg strength imprinted “58/78” on one side and “V” on the reverse side available in the following configurations:

Store at 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F) [see USP Controlled Room Temperature].

Betapace AF® is a registered trademark of Berlex Laboratories.

Manufactured for:
Huntsville, AL 35811


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