Dofetillde is a relatively new class III antiarrhythmic agent that selectively blocks the rapid component of the cardiac ion channel delayed rectifier current. This results in an increase in the action potential duration and effective refractory period of the myocyte, thereby terminating reentrant tachyarrhythmias and preventing their re-induction. Oral dofetillde is effective in the conversion of atrial fibrillation and flutter to sinus rhythm and in the maintenance of sinus rhythm after conversion. It is generally well tolerated but like other antiarrhythmic agents in its class, torsades de pointes may be induced as a consequence of therapy. This risk is minimized by dosage adjustment according to creatinine clearance and QTc interval, by selecting patients without known risk factors for torsades and by initiating treatment in a monitored hospital setting for the first 3 days. Unlike other antiarrhythmic agents, oral dofetillde did not increase mortality in patients with a recent myocardial infarction or congestive heart failure, hence its importance as an alternative medication for the pharmacological conversion of atrial fibrillation and flutter, and maintenance of sinus rhythm after conversion in patients at high risk of sudden death.
- Antiarrhythmic agents
- Atrial flutter