Safety in Patients with Structural Heart Disease: DIAMOND Studies (The Danish Investigations of Arrhythmia and Mortality on Dofetilide)
The two DIAMOND studies were 3-year trials comparing the effects of dofetilide and placebo on mortality and morbidity in patients with impaired left ventricular function (ejection fraction ≤35%). Patients were treated for at least one year. One study was in patients with moderate to severe (60% NYHA Class III or IV) congestive heart failure (DIAMOND CHF) and the other was in patients with recent myocardial infarction (DIAMOND MI) (of whom 40% had NYHA Class III or IV heart failure).
Both groups were at relatively high risk of sudden death. The DIAMOND trials were intended to determine whether dofetilide could reduce that risk. The trials did not demonstrate a reduction in mortality; however, they provide reassurance that, when initiated carefully, in a hospital or equivalent setting, dofetilide did not increase mortality in patients with structural heart disease, an important finding because other antiarrhythmics [notably the Class IC antiarrhythmics studied in the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial (CAST) and a pure Class III antiarrhythmic, d-sotalol (SWORD)] have increased mortality in post-infarction populations. The DIAMOND trials therefore provide evidence of a method of safe use of dofetilide in a population susceptible to ventricular arrhythmias. In addition, the subset of patients with AF in the DIAMOND trials provide further evidence of safety in a population of patients with structural heart disease accompanying the AF. Note, however, that this AF population was given a lower (250 mcg BID) dose (see CLINICAL STUDIES, DIAMOND Patients with Atrial Fibrillation).
In both DIAMOND studies, patients were randomized to 500 mcg BID of dofetilide, but this was reduced to 250 mcg BID if calculated creatinine clearance was 40–60 mL/min, if patients had AF, or if QT interval prolongation (>550 msec or >20% increase from baseline) occurred after dosing. Dose reductions for reduced calculated creatinine clearance occurred in 47% and 45% of DIAMOND CHF and MI patients, respectively. Dose reductions for increased QT interval or QTc occurred in 5% and 7% of DIAMOND CHF and MI patients, respectively. Increased QT interval or QTc (>550 msec or >20% increase from baseline) resulted in discontinuation of 1.8% of patients in DIAMOND CHF and 2.5% of patients in DIAMOND MI.
In the DIAMOND studies, all patients were hospitalized for at least 3 days after treatment was initiated and monitored by telemetry. Patients with QTc greater than 460 msec, second or third degree AV block (unless with pacemaker), resting heart rate <50 bpm, or prior history of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia were excluded.
DIAMOND CHF studied 1518 patients hospitalized with severe CHF who had confirmed impaired left ventricular function (ejection fraction ≤35%). Patients received a median duration of therapy of greater than one year. There were 311 deaths from all causes in patients randomized to dofetilide (n=762) and 317 deaths in patients randomized to placebo (n=756). The probability of survival at one year was 73% (95% CI: 70% – 76%) in the dofetilide group and 72% (95% CI: 69% – 75%) in the placebo group. Similar results were seen for cardiac deaths and arrhythmic deaths. Torsade de Pointes occurred in 25/762 patients (3.3%) receiving dofetilide. The majority of cases (76%) occurred within the first 3 days of dosing. In all, 437/762 (57%) of patients on dofetilide and 459/756 (61%) on placebo required hospitalization. Of these, 229/762 (30%) of patients on dofetilide and 290/756 (38%) on placebo required hospitalization because of worsening heart failure.
DIAMOND MI studied 1510 patients hospitalized with recent myocardial infarction (2–7 days) who had confirmed impaired left ventricular function (ejection fraction ≤35%). Patients received a median duration of therapy of greater than one year. There were 230 deaths in patients randomized to dofetilide (n=749) and 243 deaths in patients randomized to placebo (n=761). The probability of survival at one year was 79% (95% CI: 76% – 82%) in the dofetilide group and 77% (95% CI: 74% – 80%) in the placebo group. Cardiac and arrhythmic mortality showed a similar result. Torsade de Pointes occurred in 7/749 patients (0.9%) receiving dofetilide. Of these, 4 cases occurred within the first 3 days of dosing and 3 cases occurred between Day 4 and the conclusion of the study. In all, 371/749 (50%) of patients on dofetilide and 419/761 (55%) on placebo required hospitalization. Of these, 200/749 (27%) of patients on dofetilide and 205/761 (27%) on placebo required hospitalization because of worsening heart failure.
DIAMOND Patients with Atrial Fibrillation (the DIAMOND AF subpopulation). There were 506 patients in the two DIAMOND studies who had atrial fibrillation (AF) at entry to the studies (249 randomized to dofetilide and 257 randomized to placebo). DIAMOND AF patients randomized to dofetilide received 250 mcg BID; 65% of these patients had impaired renal function, so that 250 mcg BID represents the dose they would have received in the AF trials, which would give drug exposure similar to a person with normal renal function given 500 mcg BID. In the DIAMOND AF subpopulation, there were 111 deaths (45%) in the 249 patients in the dofetilide group and 116 deaths (45%) in the 257 patients in the placebo group. Hospital readmission rates for any reason were 125/249 or 50% on dofetilide and 156/257 or 61% for placebo. Of these, readmission rates for worsening heart failure were 73/249 or 29% on dofetilide and 102/257 or 40% for placebo.
Of the 506 patients in the DIAMOND studies who had atrial fibrillation or flutter at baseline, 12% of patients in the dofetilide group and 2% of patients in the placebo group had converted to normal sinus rhythm after one month. In those patients converted to normal sinus rhythm, 79% of the dofetilide group and 42% of the placebo group remained in normal sinus rhythm for one year.
In the DIAMOND studies, although Torsade de Pointes occurred more frequently in the dofetilide-treated patients (see ADVERSE REACTIONS), dofetilide, given with an initial 3-day hospitalization and with dose modified for reduced creatinine clearance and increased QT interval, was not associated with an excess risk of mortality in these populations with structural heart disease in the individual studies or in an analysis of the combined studies. The presence of atrial fibrillation did not affect outcome.
Dofetilide capsules are indicated for the maintenance of normal sinus rhythm (delay in time to recurrence of atrial fibrillation/atrial flutter [AF/AFl]) in patients with atrial fibrillation/atrial flutter of greater than one week duration who have been converted to normal sinus rhythm. Because dofetilide can cause life threatening ventricular arrhythmias, it should be reserved for patients in whom atrial fibrillation/atrial flutter is highly symptomatic.
In general, antiarrhythmic therapy for atrial fibrillation/atrial flutter aims to prolong the time in normal sinus rhythm. Recurrence is expected in some patients (see CLINICAL STUDIES).
Dofetilide capsules are indicated for the conversion of atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter to normal sinus rhythm.
Dofetilide capsules have not been shown to be effective in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.
Dofetilide is contraindicated in patients with congenital or acquired long QT syndromes. Dofetilide should not be used in patients with a baseline QT interval or QTc >440 msec (500 msec in patients with ventricular conduction abnormalities). Dofetilide is also contraindicated in patients with severe renal impairment (calculated creatinine clearance <20 mL/min).
The concomitant use of verapamil or the cation transport system inhibitors cimetidine, trimethoprim (alone or in combination with sulfamethoxazole), or ketoconazole with dofetilide is contraindicated (see WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS, Drug-Drug Interactions), as each of these drugs cause a substantial increase in dofetilide plasma concentrations. In addition, other known inhibitors of the renal cation transport system such as prochlorperazine, dolutegravir and megestrol should not be used in patients on dofetilide.
The concomitant use of hydrochlorothiazide (alone or in combinations such as with triamterene) with dofetilide is contraindicated (see PRECAUTIONS, Drug-Drug Interactions) because this has been shown to significantly increase dofetilide plasma concentrations and QT interval prolongation.
Dofetilide is also contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to the drug.
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