Aggravation and provocation of ventricular arrhythmias by antiarrhythmic drugs.
Antiarrhythmic drugs may aggravate or even induce ventricular arrhythmias. This type of adverse reaction is becoming more prevalent as the use of antiarrhythmic agents becomes more widespread. In a retrospective analysis of antiarrhythmic drug action, a worsening of arrhythmia was observed in 80 of 722 (11.1%) antiarrhythmic drug tests in 53 of 155 patients being treated for ventricular tachyarrhythmias. Aggravation of arrhythmias was defined by occurrence of a fourfold increase in the frequency of ventricular premature complexes, a 10-fold increase in repetitive forms, or the first emergence of sustained ventricular tachycardia coincident with time course of action of the particular drug under study. Such aggravation was noted with each of nine drugs tested: quinidine, procainamide, disopyramide, propranolol, metoprolol, aprindine, mexiletine, tocainide and pindolol. The frequency of this complication for a specific drug ranged from 5.9-15.8%. Blood drug concentrations were consistently in the therapeutic range. A study of the variability of ventricular arrhythmia during 48-hour Holter monitoring and exercise stress testing in no instance showed arrhythmia enhancement commensurate with that defining aggravation. Our data suggest that this potentially serious complication is not readily predictable and requires a systematic approach to antiarrhythmic drug testing before a patient is prescribed a long-range maintenance program.
- Copyright © 1982 by American Heart Association