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February 1990

Mexiletine: Long-term Efficacy and Side Effects in Patients With Chronic Drug-Resistant Potentially Lethal Ventricular Arrhythmias

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(2):381-384. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390140095021

• The antiarrhythmic efficacy of mexiletine hydrochloride (Mexitil) was evaluated in 100 patients with potentially lethal and drug-resistant ventricular arrhythmia. The efficacy of arrhythmia suppression was assessed by Holter monitoring. The overall arrhythmia suppression of ventricular premature contractions of 70% and greater was low and seen in only 22% of patients, with an additional 16% responding to a combination of mexiletine and an additional antiarrhythmic drug. The suppression of high-grade forms, couplets of 90% and greater, and complete abolition of nonsustained runs of ventricular tachycardia was achieved in 22% of patients, with 9% responding to the addition of another antiarrhythmic agent. Ventricular premature contractions, couplets, and nonsustained ventricular tachycardia were suppressed in only 16% of the cohort. The drug was poorly tolerated, with intolerable side effects developing in 49% of patients receiving mexiletine alone and in 57% of patients receiving a combination of antiarrhythmic agents. Tolerable adverse effects were relatively common but transient and dose related.

(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:381-384)