Multaq (dronedarone): Drug Safety Communication - Increased Risk of Death or Serious Cardiovascular Events
Audience: Healthcare professionals, consumers
[UPDATED 12/19/2011] FDA completed a safety review of Multaq (dronedarone). This review showed that Multaq increased the risk of serious cardiovascular events, including death, when used by patients in permanent atrial fibrillation (AF). The review was based on data from two clinical trials, PALLAS and ATHENA. FDA is providing new information and recommendations for the use of Multaq to manage the potential serious cardiovascular risks with the drug.
The Multaq drug label has been revised with the following changes and recommendations:
- Healthcare professionals should not prescribe Multaq to patients with AF who cannot or will not be converted into normal sinus rhythm (permanent AF), because Multaq doubles the rate of cardiovascular death, stroke, and heart failure in such patients.
- Healthcare professionals should monitor heart (cardiac) rhythm by electrocardiogram (ECG) at least once every 3 months. If the patient is in AF, Multaq should be stopped or, if clinically indicated, the patient should be cardioverted.
- Multaq is indicated to reduce hospitalization for AF in patients in sinus rhythm with a history of non-permanent AF (known as paroxysmal or persistent AF)
- Patients prescribed Multaq should receive appropriate antithrombotic therapy.
For additional information, including a data summary, read the updated FDA Drug Safety Communication
ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionals that it is reviewing data from a clinical trial that evaluated the effects of the antiarrhythmic drug Multaq (dronedarone) in patients with permanent atrial fibrillation. The study was stopped early after the data monitoring committee found a two-fold increase in death, as well as two-fold increases in stroke and hospitalization for heart failure in patients receiving Multaq compared to patients taking a placebo. FDA is evaluating whether and how the preliminary results of the PALLAS study apply to patients taking Multaq for paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter. The PALLAS study results are considered preliminary at this time because the data have not undergone quality assurance procedures and have not been completely adjudicated. FDA will update the public when more information is available.
BACKGROUND: Multaq is approved for use to reduce the risk of cardiovascular hospitalization in patients with paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation (AF) or atrial flutter (AFL), with a recent episode of AF/AFL and associated cardiovascular risk factors, who are in sinus rhythm or who will be cardioverted.
RECOMMENDATION: At this time, patients taking Multaq should talk to their healthcare professional about whether they should continue to take Multaq for non-permanent atrial fibrillation. Patients should not stop taking Multaq without talking to a healthcare professional. Healthcare professionals should not prescribe Multaq to patients with permanent atrial fibrillation. See the Data Summary in the Drug Safety Communication for additional details.