Amiodarone and one of its major metabolites, DEA, are present in breastmilk at between 3.5% and 45% of the maternal weight-adjusted dosage of amiodarone. There are cases of hypothyroidism and bradycardia in breastfed infants, although it is unclear if these effects are due to amiodarone exposure in breastmilk. Breastfeeding is not recommended during treatment with amiodarone hydrochloride [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.6, 5.7)].
Based on animal fertility studies, amiodarone hydrochloride may reduce female and male fertility. It is not known if this effect is reversible [see Nonclinical Toxicology ( 13.1)].
The safety and effectiveness of amiodarone hydrochloride in pediatric patients have not been established.
Normal subjects over 65 years of age show lower clearances and increased drug half-life than younger subjects [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)]. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
There have been cases, some fatal, of amiodarone hydrochloride overdose.
Monitor the patient’s cardiac rhythm and blood pressure, and, if bradycardia ensues, a β-adrenergic agonist or a pacemaker may be used. Treat hypotension with inadequate tissue perfusion with positive inotropic and vasopressor agents. Neither amiodarone hydrochloride nor its metabolite is dialyzable.
Amiodarone hydrochloride, USP, is an antiarrhythmic drug, available for oral administration as yellow tablets containing 100 mg of amiodarone hydrochloride, yellow scored tablets containing 200 mg of amiodarone hydrochloride, and yellow scored tablets containing 400 mg of amiodarone hydrochloride. The inactive ingredients present in 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg tablets are: lactose monohydrate, sodium starch glycolate, povidone, colloidal silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, and pigment D&C yellow 10 aluminum lake. Amiodarone hydrochloride is a benzofuran derivative: 2-butyl-3-benzofuranyl 4-[2-(diethylamino)-ethoxy]- 3,5-diiodophenyl ketone hydrochloride.
The structural formula is as follows:
C 25 H 29 I 2 NO 3 ·HCl Molecular Weig ht: 681.8
Amiodarone hydrochloride is a white to cream-colored crystalline powder. It is slightly soluble in water, soluble in alcohol, and freely soluble in chloroform. It contains 37.3% iodine by weight. FDA approved dissolution test specifications differ from USP.
Amiodarone is considered a class III antiarrhythmic drug, but it possesses electrophysiologic characteristics of all four Vaughan Williams classes. Like class I drugs, amiodarone blocks sodium channels at rapid pacing frequencies, and like class II drugs, amiodarone exerts a noncompetitive antisympathetic action. One of its main effects, with prolonged administration, is to lengthen the cardiac action potential, a class III effect. The negative chronotropic effect of amiodarone in nodal tissues is similar to the effect of class IV drugs. In addition to blocking sodium channels, amiodarone blocks myocardial potassium channels, which contributes to slowing of conduction and prolongation of refractoriness. The antisympathetic action and the block of calcium and potassium channels are responsible for the negative dromotropic effects on the sinus node and for the slowing of conduction and prolongation of refractoriness in the atrioventricular (AV) node. Its vasodilatory action can decrease cardiac workload and consequently myocardial oxygen consumption.
Amiodarone hydrochloride prolongs the duration of the action potential of all cardiac fibers while causing minimal reduction of dV/dt (maximal upstroke velocity of the action potential). The refractory period is prolonged in all cardiac tissues. Amiodarone hydrochloride increases the cardiac refractory period without influencing resting membrane potential, except in automatic cells where the slope of the prepotential is reduced, generally reducing automaticity. These electrophysiologic effects are reflected in a decreased sinus rate of 15 to 20%, increased PR and QT intervals of about 10%, the development of U-waves, and changes in T-wave contour. These changes should not require discontinuation of amiodarone hydrochloride as they are evidence of its pharmacological action, although amiodarone hydrochloride can cause marked sinus bradycardia or sinus arrest and heart block [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.4)].
In animal studies and after intravenous administration in man, amiodarone hydrochloride relaxes vascular smooth muscle, reduces peripheral vascular resistance (afterload), and slightly increases cardiac index. After oral dosing, however, amiodarone hydrochloride produces no significant change in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), even in patients with depressed LVEF. After acute intravenous dosing in man, amiodarone hydrochloride may have a mild negative inotropic effect.
There is no well-established relationship between plasma concentration and effectiveness, but it does appear that concentrations much below 1 mg/L are often ineffective and that levels above 2.5 mg/L are generally not needed. Plasma-concentration measurements can be used to identify patients whose levels are unusually low, and who might benefit from a dose increase, or unusually high, and who might have dosage reduction in the hope of minimizing side effects.
Effects on abnormal rhythms are not seen before 2 to 3 days and usually require 1 to 3 weeks, even when a loading dose is used. There may be a continued increase in effect for longer periods still. There is evidence that the time to effect is shorter when a loading-dose regimen is used.
Consistent with the slow rate of elimination, antiarrhythmic effects persist for weeks or months after amiodarone hydrochloride is discontinued, but the time of recurrence is variable and unpredictable. In general, when the drug is resumed after recurrence of the arrhythmia, control is established relatively rapidly compared to the initial response, presumably because tissue stores were not wholly depleted.
Following oral administration in humans, amiodarone hydrochloride is slowly and variably absorbed. The bioavailability of amiodarone is approximately 50%. Maximum plasma concentrations are attained 3 to 7 hours after a single dose. Plasma concentrations with chronic dosing at 100 to 600 mg/day are approximately dose proportional, with a mean 0.5 mg/L increase for each 100 mg/day. These means, however, include considerable individual variability.
Food increases the rate and extent of absorption of amiodarone. The effects of food upon the bioavailability of amiodarone have been studied in 30 healthy subjects who received a single 600-mg dose immediately after consuming a high-fat meal and following an overnight fast. The area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) and the peak plasma concentration (C max ) of amiodarone increased by 2.3 (range 1.7 to 3.6) and 3.8 (range 2.7 to 4.4) times, respectively, in the presence of food. Food also increased the rate of absorption of amiodarone, decreasing the time to peak plasma concentration (T max ) by 37%. The mean AUC and mean C max of the major metabolite of amiodarone, DEA increased by 55% (range 58 to 101%) and 32% (range 4 to 84%), respectively, but there was no change in the T max in the presence of food.
Amiodarone is highly protein-bound (approximately 96%). Amiodarone has a very large but variable volume of distribution, averaging about 60 L/kg, because of extensive accumulation in various sites, especially adipose tissue and highly perfused organs, such as the liver, lung, and spleen.
One major metabolite of amiodarone, DEA, has been identified in man; it accumulates to an even greater extent in almost all tissues. No data are available on the activity of DEA in humans, but in animals, it has significant electrophysiologic and antiarrhythmic effects generally similar to amiodarone itself. DEA’s precise role and contribution to the antiarrhythmic activity of oral amiodarone are not certain. The development of maximal ventricular class III effects after oral amiodarone hydrochloride administration in humans correlates more closely with DEA accumulation over time than with amiodarone accumulation.
Following single dose administration in 12 healthy subjects, amiodarone exhibited multi- compartmental pharmacokinetics with a mean apparent plasma terminal elimination half-life of 58 days (range 15 to 142 days) for amiodarone and 36 days (range 14 to 75 days) for the active metabolite (DEA). In patients, following discontinuation of chronic oral therapy, amiodarone has been shown to have a biphasic elimination with an initial 50% reduction of plasma levels after 2.5 to 10 days. A much slower terminal plasma-elimination phase shows a half-life of the parent compound ranging from 26 to 107 days, with a mean of approximately 53 days and most patients in the 40- to 55- day range. In the absence of a loading-dose period, steady-state plasma concentrations, at constant oral dosing, would therefore be reached between 130 and 535 days, with an average of 265 days. For the metabolite, the mean plasma-elimination half-life was approximately 61 days. These data probably reflect an initial elimination of drug from well-perfused tissue (the 2.5- to 10-day half-life phase), followed by a terminal phase representing extremely slow elimination from poorly perfused tissue compartments such as fat.
The considerable inter-subject variation in both phases of elimination, as well as uncertainty as to what compartment is critical to drug effect, requires attention to individual responses once arrhythmia control is achieved with loading doses because the correct maintenance dose is determined, in part, by the elimination rates. Individualize maintenance doses of amiodarone hydrochloride [see Dosage and Administration ( 2)].
Amiodarone is metabolized to DEA by the cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzyme group, specifically CYP3A and CYP2C8. The CYP3A isoenzyme is present in both the liver and intestines. In vitro , amiodarone and DEA exhibit a potential to inhibit CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, CYP3A, CYP2A6, CYP2B6 and CYP2C8. Amiodarone and DEA have also a potential to inhibit some transporters such as P- glycoprotein and organic cation transporter (OCT2).
Amiodarone is eliminated primarily by hepatic metabolism and biliary excretion and there is negligible excretion of amiodarone or DEA in urine. Neither amiodarone nor DEA is dialyzable.
Effect of Age: Normal subjects over 65 years of age show lower clearances (about 100 mL/hr/kg) than younger subjects (about 150 mL/hr/kg) and an increase in t ½ from about 20 to 47 days.
Renal Impairment: Renal impairment does not influence the pharmacokinetics of amiodarone or DEA.
Hepatic Impairment: After a single dose of intravenous amiodarone to cirrhotic patients, significantly lower C max and average concentration values are seen for DEA, but mean amiodarone levels are unchanged.
Cardiac Disease: In patients with severe left ventricular dysfunction, the pharmacokinetics of amiodarone are not significantly altered but the terminal elimination t ½ of DEA is prolonged.
Although no dosage adjustment for patients with renal, hepatic, or cardiac abnormalities has been defined during chronic treatment with oral amiodarone, close clinical monitoring is prudent for elderly patients and those with severe left ventricular dysfunction.
Effects of other agents on amiodarone
Grapefruit juice: Grapefruit juice given to healthy volunteers increased amiodarone AUC by 50% and C max by 84%, and decreased DEA to unquantifiable concentrations.
Cimetidineinhibits CYP3A and can increase serum amiodarone levels.
Cholestyraminereduces enterohepatic circulation of amiodarone thereby increasing its elimination. This results in reduced amiodarone serum levels and half-life.
Effects of amiodarone on agents:
CYP3A substrates :
Amiodarone taken concomitantly with quinidine increases the quinidine serum concentration by 33% after two days. Amiodarone taken concomitantly with procainamide for less than seven days increases plasma concentrations of procainamide and n-acetyl procainamide by 55% and 33%, respectively.
Loratadine , a non-sedating antihistaminic, is metabolized primarily by CYP3A and its metabolism can be inhibited by amiodarone.
Metabolism of lidocaine can be inhibited by amiodarone.
Cyclophosphamide is a prodrug, metabolized by CYP450 including CYP3A to an active metabolite. The metabolism of cyclophosphamide may be inhibited by amiodarone.
Clopidogrel , an inactive thienopyridine prodrug, is metabolized in the liver by CYP3A to an active metabolite. A potential interaction between clopidogrel and amiodarone resulting in ineffective inhibition of platelet aggregation has been reported.
Macrolide/ketolide antibiotics :
Amiodarone can inhibit the metabolism of macrolide/ketolide antibiotics (except for azithromycin) and systemic azole antifungal drugs.
P-glycoprotein substrates :
Amiodarone taken concomitantly with digoxin increases the serum digoxin concentration by 70% after one day.
Dabigatran etexilatewhen taken concomitantly with oral amiodarone can result in elevated serum concentration of dabigatran.
Dextromethorphanis a substrate for both CYP2D6 and CYP3A. Amiodarone inhibits CYP2D6. Chronic (> 2 weeks) oral amiodarone administration impairs metabolism of dextromethorphan can lead to increased serum concentrations.
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