Propafenone: an effective agent for the management of supraventricular arrhythmias.
Propafenone is a sodium channel blocking antiarrhythmic drug. It also has beta-adrenergic, potassium channel, and weak calcium channel blocking activity. The drug is metabolized in the liver with rates dependent on the debrisoquin phenotype. The saturable metabolism results in nonlinear pharmacokinetics. The metabolites retain sodium channel blocking activity but little beta-adrenergic blocking activity. Both controlled and noncontrolled studies have documented its efficacy in a variety of supraventricular arrhythmias. Intravenous propafenone is effective in converting atrial fibrillation to normal sinus rhythm. Chronic oral administration decreases the frequency of recurrence of atrial fibrillation and paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. The drug is particularly effective in the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. The drug may produce SA block in patients with underlying sinus node dysfunction. Propafenone has comparatively few noncardiac side effects. It is a useful primary drug or an alternative to more commonly used drugs used for the treatment of supraventricular arrhythmias.
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