By Professor Juan Tamargo, Madrid, Spain
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has completed a safety review of the drug Multaq (dronedarone). Data from two clinical trials, PALLAS and ATHENA, showed that Multaq increased the risk of serious cardiovascular events, including death, when used by patients in permanent atrial fibrillation (AF). The review provided new information and recommendations for the use of Multaq to manage the potential serious cardiovascular risks with the drug.
The Multaq drug label has been revised with the following changes and recommendations:
* Healthcare professionals should not prescribe Multaq to patients with AF who cannot or will not be converted into normal sinus rhythm (permanent AF), because Multaq doubles the rate of cardiovascular death, stroke, and heart failure in such patients.
* Healthcare professionals should monitor heart (cardiac) rhythm by electrocardiogram (ECG) at least once every 3 months. If the patient is in AF, Multaq should be stopped or, if clinically indicated, the patient should be cardioverted.
* Multaq is indicated to reduce hospitalization for AF in patients in sinus rhythm with a history of non-permanent AF (known as paroxysmal or persistent AF).
* Patients prescribed Multaq should receive appropriate antithrombotic therapy.
Patients should contact their healthcare professional if they have any questions or concerns about Multaq. Patients should not stop taking Multaq without talking to their healthcare professional.