The ACC/AHA/ESC guidelines for the management of patients with atrial fibrillation have described dronedarone as a derivative of amiodarone (a well established and recommended treatment for atrial fibrillation) under development as an ion-channel blocking drug.
Speaking on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology, Professor Christophe Leclercq from the CHU in Rennes, France, said: "The ATHENA trial shows that dronedarone, a new antiarryhtmic drug similar to amiodarone but with different effects on individual ion channels, reduced the risk of death or hospitalisation for cardiovascular reasons by 36% when compared with placebo. This was in patients without severe heart failure (NYHA class IV) but with paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation or flutter with additional risk factor for death.
"The study found no difference in overall mortality between the two groups but cardiovascular death was significantly reduced with dronedarone by 29%. There was no difference in thyroid-related effects between the two groups. The EURIDIS and ADONIS trials have already shown that dronedarone significantly reduced the recurrence of arrythmias in patients with paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation.
"Dronedarone may thus play a role in the management of atrial arrhythmias in patients with paroxysmal or persistent atrial tachycardias without severe heart failure."
The European Society of Cardiology (ESC):
The ESC represents nearly 53,000 cardiology professionals across Europe and the Mediterranean. Its mission is to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in Europe.
The ESC achieves this through a variety of scientific and educational activities including the coordination of: clinical practice guidelines, education courses and initiatives, pan-European surveys on specific disease areas and the ESC Annual Congress, the largest medical meeting in Europe. The ESC also works closely with the European Commission and WHO to improve health policy in the EU.
The ESC comprises 3 Councils, 5 Associations, 19 Working Groups, 50 National Cardiac Societies and an ESC Fellowship Community (Fellow, FESC; Nurse Fellow, NFESC). For more information on ESC Initiatives, Congresses and Constituent Bodies see www.escardio.org.
European Society of Cardiology, The European Heart House 2035 Route des Colles, B.P. 179 - Les Templiers, Sophia Antipolis F-06903 France
1. Hohnloser SH, Crijns HJGM, van Eickels M, et al. Effect of dronedarone on cardiovascular events in atrial fibrillation. N Engl J Med 2009; 360: 668-678.
2. The most common arrhythmia (after a skipped beat) is atrial fibrillation, which affects up to 5 per cent of all adults, mainly the over-65s, and becomes more common with advancing age. Hospitalisations for atrial fibrillation have increased dramatically in recent years.
3. ACC/AHA/ESC 2006 guidelines for the management of patients with atrial fibrillation can be found here.
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