Amiodarone versus placebo and class IC drugs for cardioversion of recent-onset atrial fibrillation: A meta-analysis

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OBJECTIVES: This meta-analysis compared amiodarone with placebo and class Ic drugs for the cardioversion of recent-onset atrial fibrillation (AF), defined as lasting less than seven days. BACKGROUND: Despite the lack of trials that support its efficacy convincingly, amiodarone is widely used for conversion of recent-onset AF. METHODS: We searched Medline and EMBASE databases, as well as the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register for randomized trials on recent-onset AF comparing amiodarone to placebo or class Ic drugs. Data were combined according to a fixed effect model. The primary end point was the rate of conversion at 24 h. To study time-dependency of the drugs, efficacy at 1 to 2 h, 3 to 5 h, 6 to 8 h, and at 24 h was analyzed. RESULTS: We found six studies randomizing amiodarone versus placebo (595 patients) and seven studies versus class Ic drugs (579 patients). There was no significant difference between amiodarone and placebo at 1 to 2 h, but significant efficacy was found after 6 to 8 h (relative risk [RR] 1.23, p = 0.022) and at 24 h (RR 1.44, p < 0.001). Efficacy with amiodarone was inferior to class Ic drugs for up to 8 h (RR 0.67, p < 0.001) but no difference was seen at 24 h (RR 0.95, p = 0.50). There were no major adverse effects. CONCLUSIONS: Amiodarone is superior to placebo for cardioversion of AF, and even though the onset of conversion is delayed, its efficacy is similar at 24 h compared with class Ic drugs. These results favor amiodarone as a reasonable alternative for patients with recent AF in whom class Ic and other, more rapidly acting antiarrhythmic drugs cannot be used. © 2003 by the American College of Cardiology Foundation.




Chevalier, P., Durand-Dubief, A., Burri, H., Cucherat, M., Kirkorian, G., & Touboul, P. (2003). Amiodarone versus placebo and class IC drugs for cardioversion of recent-onset atrial fibrillation: A meta-analysis. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 41(2), 255–262.

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