Skip to main content

Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

In a total of 1836 patients in controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials, 14% of patients received intravenous amiodarone for at least one week, 5% received it for at least 2 weeks, 2% received it for at least 3 weeks, and 1% received it for more than 3 weeks, without an increased incidence of severe adverse reactions. The mean duration of therapy in these studies was 5.6 days; median exposure was 3.7 days.

The most important adverse reactions were hypotension, asystole/cardiac arrest/pulseless electrical activity (PEA), cardiogenic shock, congestive heart failure, bradycardia, liver function test abnormalities, VT, and AV block. Overall, treatment was discontinued for about 9% of the patients because of adverse reactions. The most common adverse reactions leading to discontinuation of intravenous amiodaronejherapy were hypotension (1.6%), asystole/cardiac arrest/PEA (1.2%), VT (1.1%), and cardiogenic shock (1%).

Table 4 lists the most common (incidence ≥ 2%) adverse reactions during intravenous amiodarone therapy considered at least possibly drug-related. These data were collected in clinical trials involving 1836 patients with life-threatening VT/VF. Data from all assigned treatment groups are pooled because none of the adverse reactions appeared to be dose-related.


Study Event Controlled Studies
(n = 814)
Open-Label Studies
(n = 1022)
(n = 1836)
Body as a whole
  Fever 24 (2.9%) 13 (1.2%) 37 (2.0%)
Cardiovascular System
  Bradycardia 49 (6.0%) 41 (4.0%) 90 (4.9%)
  Congestive heart failure 18 (2.2%) 21 (2.0%) 39 (2.1%)
  Heart arrest 29 (3.5%) 26 (2.5%) 55 (2.9%)
  Hypotension 165 (20.2%) 123 (12.0%) 288 (15.6%)
  Ventricular tachycardia 15 (1.8%) 30 (2.9%) 45 (2.4%)
Digestive System
  Liver function tests abnormal 35 (4.2%) 29 (2.8%) 64 (3.4%)
  Nausea 29 (3.5%) 43 (4.2%) 72 (3.9%)

Other adverse reactions reported in less than 2% of patients receiving intravenous amiodaronejn controlled and uncontrolled studies included the following: abnormal kidney function, atrial fibrillation, diarrhea, increased ALT, increased AST, lung edema, nodal arrhythmia, prolonged QT interval, respiratory disorder, shock, sinus bradycardia, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, thrombocytopenia, VF, and vomiting.

Post-Marketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of amiodarone. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Body as a Whole: anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reaction (including shock), fever

Cardiovascular: hypotension (sometimes fatal), sinus arrest

Dermatologic: toxic epidermal necrolysis (sometimes fatal), exfoliative dermatitis, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, skin cancer, pruritus, angioedema

Endocrine: syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH)

Hematologic: pancytopenia, neutropenia, hemolytic anemia, aplastic anemia, thrombocytopenia, agranulocytosis, granuloma

Hepatic: hepatitis, cholestatic hepatitis, cirrhosis

Injection Site Reactions: pain, erythema, edema, pigment changes, venous thombosis, phlebitis, thrombophlebitis, cellulitis, necrosis, and skin sloughing

Musculoskeletal: myopathy, muscle weakness, rhabdomyolysis

Nervous System: hallucination, confusional state, disorientation, and delirium, pseudotumor cerebri

Pancreatic: pancreatitis

Renal: renal impairment, renal insufficiency, acute renal failure,

Respiratory: bronchospasm, possibly fatal respiratory disorders (including distress, failure, arrest and ARDS), bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (possibly fatal), dyspnea, cough, hemoptysis, wheezing, hypoxia, pulmonary infiltrates, and /or mass, pleuritis

Thyroid: thyroid nodules/thyroid cancer

Vascular: vasculitis