Antiarrhythmic drugs for atrial fibrillation: focus on dronedarone

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Patients with atrial fibrillation have an increased risk of stroke and heart failure, as well as impairment of their quality of life. Most trials have primarily focused on the prevention of stroke and heart failure, and the improvement of symptoms in these patients. More recently, a rate-control strategy has been reported to be a noninferior strategy compared with a rhythm-control strategy in atrial fibrillation patients. Many different classes of antiarrhythmic drugs have been used for rhythm control, with inconsistent results and adverse effects on mortality and morbidity. Of the available antiarrhythmic drugs, amiodarone is the single most effective drug in the prevention of atrial fibrillation recurrences and maintaining sinus rhythm; however, it is vastly limited by its various systemic side effects, especially those observed with long-term use. However, recent trial data from a new antiarrhythmic agent, dronedarone, suggest that this drug may be a safe alternative to amiodarone; however, its long-term efficacy and safety still require exploration.

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