Evaluation of Deprescribing Amiodarone After New-Onset Atrial Fibrillation in Critical Illness

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Background Recent studies have shed light on the continued prescription of inpatient medications upon hospital discharge, despite the original intent of short-term inpatient therapy. Amiodarone, an antiarrhythmic associated with significant adverse effects with long-term use, is commonly used for new-onset atrial fibrillation in critical illness (NAFCI). Although it is often preferred in this setting of hemodynamic instability, a prescription for long-term use should be carefully considered, preferably by a cardiologist. This study was conducted to evaluate the incidence of patients discharged on amiodarone without a cardiology consult or referral after being initiated on amiodarone for NAFCI. Methods We conducted a retrospective review of all patients newly prescribed amiodarone for NAFCI over a 2-year period. The primary outcome was the percentage of patients who were continued on amiodarone upon hospital discharge without review by or outpatient referral to a cardiologist. Results Of the 100 patients who met inclusion criteria, 59 patients were prescribed amiodarone upon hospital discharge. Of these, 48 patients (81.4%) had converted to normal sinus rhythm with the resolution of critical illness. Of 100 patients, 23 received prescriptions for amiodarone upon discharge without a cardiology consult or referral. Conclusion Amiodarone was frequently continued upon discharge without referral to a cardiologist in patients initiated on this therapy for NAFCI. This may contribute to unnecessary long-term therapy, thereby increasing the risk for significant side effects, drug interactions, and increased healthcare costs. This study suggests that careful medication reconciliation through all transitions of care, including discharge, is essential.




Leelathanalerk, A., Dongtai, W., Huckleberry, Y., Kopp, B., Bloom, J., & Alpert, J. (2017). Evaluation of Deprescribing Amiodarone After New-Onset Atrial Fibrillation in Critical Illness. American Journal of Medicine, 130(7), 864–866. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2017.02.025

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