Females are more susceptible to drug-induced torsade de pointes (TdP), which is associated with excessive prolongation of the heart rate-corrected QT interval (QTc). Sotalol prolongs the cardiac action potential that can be observed as QT prolongation and can induce TdP. The aim of this study was to assess gender differences in sotalol-induced QTc prolongation.Methods:
A total of 15 healthy volunteers, 9 female and 6 male (age: 32 ± 8 years) received 75 mg intravenous sotalol over 2.5 hours at a constant infusion rate. A 12-lead electrocardiograph (ECG) was recorded at baseline, 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 hours following the start of the infusion, and blood samples were collected simultaneously. QTc was calculated by the Fridericia and Framingham formulas. The 2 formulas resulted in virtually identical QTc intervals. The data analysis included repeated measures of analysis of variance (ANOVA), univariate analysis, and linear regression analysis.Results:
The longest average QTc intervals were observed at 2 hours of sotalol infusion in both genders. Compared to baseline, the increase was very significant in females (411 ± 13 vs 438 ± 13 ms, P < .001), while it was less significant in males (395 ± 23 vs 413 ± 27 ms, P < .05). The magnitude of individual changes from baseline were greater in females than in males (34 ± 8 vs 21 ± 12 ms, P < .05). In each gender, QTc and serum sotalol concentration strongly correlated (r = .93, P < .001). An upward shift of the regression line in females indicates a longer QTc at any concentration level. Males had greater body weight and body surface area than females (P < .05) but neither correlated with QTc or predicted QTc prolongation. The univariate analysis indicated that the single predictor for the greater QTc prolongation was female gender.Conclusion:
Females had greater QTc prolongation than males following sotalol administration. This enhanced response to drug action may explain the higher incidence of drug-induced TdP seen in females.