|Bioavailability||15% (with a high-fat meal)|
|Metabolism||Extensive Liver (mainly by CYP3A)|
|Elimination half-life||13–19 hours|
|Excretion||Feces (84%), urine (~6%)|
|CompTox Dashboard (EPA)|
|Chemical and physical data|
|Molar mass||556.76 g·mol−1|
|3D model (JSmol)|
|(what is this?)|
Dronedarone, sold under the brand name Multaq, is a medication by Sanofi-Aventis, mainly for the indication of cardiac arrhythmias. It was approved by the FDA on July 2, 2009. It was recommended as an alternative to amiodarone for the treatment of atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter in people whose hearts have either returned to normal rhythm or who undergo drug therapy or electric shock treatment i.e. direct current cardioversion (DCCV) to maintain normal rhythm. It is a class III antiarrhythmic drug. In the United States, the FDA approved label includes a claim for reducing hospitalization, but not for reducing mortality, as a reduction in mortality was not demonstrated in the clinical development program. A trial of the drug in heart failure was stopped as an interim analysis showed a possible increase in heart failure deaths, in patients with moderate to severe CHF.
The U.S. label for dronedarone includes a boxed warning, stating that dronedarone is contraindicated in patients with NYHA Class IV heart failure, with NYHA Class II–III heart failure with a recent decompensation requiring hospitalization or referral to a specialized heart failure clinic, or with permanent atrial fibrillation." Dronedarone is also associated with rare cases of severe liver damage, including liver failure.
Dronedarone has been termed a "multichannel blocker". However, it is unclear which channel(s) play a pivotal role in its success. Thus, dronedarone's actions at the cellular level are controversial, with most studies suggesting an inhibition in multiple outward potassium currents including rapid delayed rectifier, slow delayed rectifier and ACh-activated inward rectifier. It is also believed to reduce inward rapid Na current and L-type Ca channels. The reduction in K current in some studies was shown to be due to the inhibition of the K-ACh channel or associated GTP-binding proteins. Reduction of K+ current by 69% led to increased AP duration and increased effective refractory periods, thus shown to suppress pacemaker potential of the SA node and return patients to a normal heart rhythm. In a European trial, the average time to recurrence of an arrhythmia was 41 days in the placebo group vs. 96 days in the dronedarone group (similar results obtained in the non-European trial, 59 and 158 days respectively).
Chemically, dronedarone is a benzofuran derivative related to amiodarone, a popular antiarrhythmic. The use of amiodarone is limited by toxicity due its high iodine content (pulmonary fibrosis, thyroid disease) as well as by liver disease. In dronedarone, the iodine moieties are not present, reducing toxic effects on the thyroid and other organs. A methylsulfonamide group is added to reduce solubility in fats (lipophobicity) and thus reduce neurotoxic effects.
Dronedarone displays amiodarone-like class III antiarrhythmic activity in vitro and in clinical trials. The drug also appears to exhibit activity in each of the 4 Vaughan-Williams antiarrhythmic classes.
Dronedarone is less lipophilic than amiodarone, has a much smaller volume of distribution, and has an elimination half-life of 13–19 hours—this stands in contrast to amiodarone's half-life of several weeks. As a result of these pharmacokinetic characteristics, dronedarone dosing may be less complicated than amiodarone.
Clinical trials have compared dronedarone to placebo and to amiodarone, for its ability to reduce atrial fibrillation, to reduce mortality overall and from cardiac causes, and for its adverse effects, including excess mortality. Dronedarone is a non-iodinated class III anti-arrhythmic drug which helps patients return to normal sinus rhythm. This treatment for AF is also known to reduce associated mortality and hospitalizations compared to other similar antiarrhythmic agents.
In the EURIDIS and ADONIS trials in atrial fibrillation (2007), dronedarone was significantly more effective than placebo in maintaining sinus rhythm, with no difference in lung and thyroid function in the short term.
However, in the ANDROMEDA study (2007), dronedarone doubled the death rate compared to placebo, and the trial was halted early. ANDROMEDA enrolled patients with moderate to severe congestive heart failure, a relatively sicker patient population.
In a more recent atrial fibrillation trial, ATHENA, with 4628 subjects, dronedarone was significantly more effective than placebo in reducing the composite endpoint of first hospitalization due to cardiovascular events or death. There was a significant reduction in the rate of cardiovascular death, but not in the rate of death from any cause. Later post-hoc analysis of the ATHENA-results showed a significant reduction in the rate of stroke.
Patients randomized to dronedarone were more likely to develop bradycardia and QT-interval prolongation (but only 1 case of Torsades). Nausea, diarrhea, rash, and creatinine elevation also were more common in the dronedarone arm.
The PALLAS trial (2011) was stopped for safety concerns due to the finding that "dronedarone increased rates of heart failure, stroke, and death from cardiovascular causes in patients with permanent atrial fibrillation who were at risk for major vascular events". A Black Box warning was subsequently added by the FDA stating that the risk of death, stroke, and hospitalization for congestive heart failure doubled in patients with permanent atrial fibrillation.
Dronedarone has been tested in some trials as a way to improve the success rate of electrical cardioversion. In one such trial by the Veteran's Administration it was used prepare patients for electrical conversion to sinus rhythm. In the ATHENA study, 25% of patients were started on dronedarone before cardioversion. The results of a recently concluded randomized study (ELECTRA) may clarify the safety and ideal modalities of dronedarone use at the time of cardioversion.
Originally submitted as a New Drug Application in 2005, dronedarone was reviewed and recommended for approval on March 18, 2009, by an Advisory Committee of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA is not bound by the committee's recommendation, but it takes its advice into consideration when reviewing new drug applications. The FDA approved dronedarone on July 2, 2009.
Health Canada was the second major regulatory body to approve the drug, giving its approval on August 12, 2009. The approval is for "treatment of patients with a history of, or current atrial fibrillation to reduce their risk of cardiovascular hospitalization due to this condition."
The European Medicines Agency issued a Summary of Positive Opinion regarding dronedarone on 24 September 2009 recommending to the European Commission to grant a marketing authorization within the European Union.
A follow on drug, poyendarone, has been developed by modifying the Dronedarone molecule to remove its tendency to cause ventricular arrhythmia. The new drug was developed by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Department of Pharmacy and patents have been applied for.