Like other antiarrhythmic agents, CORVERT Injection can induce or worsen ventricular arrhythmias in some patients. This may have potentially fatal consequences. Torsades de pointes, a polymorphic ventricular tachycardia that develops in the setting of a prolonged QT interval, may occur because of the effect CORVERT has on cardiac repolarization, but CORVERT can also cause polymorphic VT in the absence of excessive prolongation of the QT interval. In general, with drugs that prolong the QT interval, the risk of torsades de pointes is thought to increase progressively as the QT interval is prolonged and may be worsened with bradycardia, a varying heart rate, and hypokalemia. In clinical trials conducted in patients with atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter, those with QTc intervals >440 msec were not usually allowed to participate, and serum potassium had to be above 4.0 mEq/L. Although change in QTc was dose dependent for ibutilide, there was no clear relationship between risk of serious proarrhythmia and dose in clinical studies, possibly due to the small number of events. In clinical trials of intravenous ibutilide, patients with a history of congestive heart failure (CHF) or low left ventricular ejection fraction appeared to have a higher incidence of sustained polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (VT), than those without such underlying conditions; for sustained polymorphic VT the rate was 5.4% in patients with a history of CHF and 0.8% without it. There was also a suggestion that women had a higher risk of proarrhythmia, but the sex difference was not observed in all studies and was most prominent for nonsustained ventricular tachycardia. The incidence of sustained ventricular arrhythmias was similar in male (1.8%) and female (1.5%) patients, possibly due to the small number of events. CORVERT is not recommended in patients who have previously demonstrated polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (eg, torsades de pointes).
During registration trials, 1.7% of patients with atrial flutter or atrial fibrillation treated with CORVERT developed sustained polymorphic ventricular tachycardia requiring cardioversion. In these clinical trials, many initial episodes of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia occurred after the infusion of CORVERT was stopped but generally not more than 40 minutes after the start of the first infusion. There were, however, instances of recurrent polymorphic VT that occurred about 3 hours after the initial infusion. In two cases, the VT degenerated into ventricular fibrillation, requiring immediate defibrillation. Other cases were managed with cardiac pacing and magnesium sulfate infusions. Nonsustained polymorphic ventricular tachycardia occurred in 2.7% of patients and nonsustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardias occurred in 4.9% of the patients (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).
Proarrhythmic events must be anticipated. Skilled personnel and proper equipment, including cardiac monitoring equipment, intracardiac pacing facilities, a cardioverter/defibrillator, and medication for treatment of sustained ventricular tachycardia, including polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, must be available during and after administration of CORVERT. Before treatment with CORVERT, hypokalemia and hypomagnesemia should be corrected to reduce the potential for proarrhythmia. Patients should be observed with continuous ECG monitoring for at least 4 hours following infusion or until QTc has returned to baseline. Longer monitoring is required if any arrhythmic activity is noted. Management of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia includes discontinuation of ibutilide, correction of electrolyte abnormalities, especially potassium and magnesium, and overdrive cardiac pacing, electrical cardioversion, or defibrillation. Pharmacologic therapies include magnesium sulfate infusions. Treatment with antiarrhythmics should generally be avoided.
Class Ia antiarrhythmic drugs (Vaughan Williams Classification), such as disopyramide, quinidine, and procainamide, and other class III drugs, such as amiodarone and sotalol, should not be given concomitantly with CORVERT Injection or within 4 hours postinfusion because of their potential to prolong refractoriness. In the clinical trials, class I or other class III antiarrhythmic agents were withheld for at least 5 half-lives prior to ibutilide infusion and for 4 hours after dosing, but thereafter were allowed at the physician's discretion.
Other drugs that prolong the QT interval
The potential for proarrhythmia may increase with the administration of CORVERT Injection to patients who are being treated with drugs that prolong the QT interval, such as phenothiazines, tricyclic antidepressants, tetracyclic antidepressants, and certain antihistamine drugs (H1 receptor antagonists).
No specific pharmacokinetic or other formal drug interaction studies were conducted.
Supraventricular arrhythmias may mask the cardiotoxicity associated with excessive digoxin levels. Therefore, it is advisable to be particularly cautious in patients whose plasma digoxin levels are above or suspected to be above the usual therapeutic range. Coadministration of digoxin did not have effects on either the safety or efficacy of ibutilide in the clinical trials.
Calcium channel blocking agents
Coadministration of calcium channel blockers did not have any effect on either the safety or efficacy of ibutilide in the clinical trials.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
No animal studies have been conducted to determine the carcinogenic potential of CORVERT; however, it was not genotoxic in a battery of assays, (Ames assay, mammalian cell forward gene mutation assay, unscheduled DNA synthesis assay, and mouse micronucleus assay). Similarly, no drug-related effects on fertility or mating were noted in a reproductive study in rats in which ibutilide was administered orally to both sexes up to doses of 20 mg/kg/day. On a mg/m2 basis, corrected for 3% bioavailability, the highest dose tested was approximately four times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD).
Ibutilide administered orally was teratogenic (abnormalities included adactyly, interventricular septal defects, and scoliosis) and embryocidal in reproduction studies in rats. On a mg/m2 basis, corrected for the 3% oral bioavailability, the "no adverse effect dose" (5 mg/kg/day given orally) was approximately the same as the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD); the teratogenic dose (20 mg/kg/day given orally) was about four times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis, or 16 times the MRHD on a mg/kg basis. CORVERT should not be administered to a pregnant woman unless clinical benefit outweighs potential risk to the fetus.
The excretion of ibutilide into breast milk has not been studied; accordingly, breastfeeding should be discouraged during therapy with CORVERT.
Clinical trials with CORVERT in patients with atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter did not include anyone under the age of 18. Safety and effectiveness of ibutilide in pediatric patients has not been established.
Clinical studies of ibutilide fumarate (involving 586 patients) did not include sufficient numbers of subjects less than age 65 (45%) to determine whether they respond differently from older subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
Use in Patients With Hepatic or Renal Dysfunction
The safety, effectiveness, and pharmacokinetics of CORVERT have not been established in patients with hepatic or renal dysfunction. However, it is unlikely that dosing adjustments would be necessary in patients with compromised renal or hepatic function based on the following considerations: (1) CORVERT is indicated for rapid intravenous therapy (duration ≤ 30 minutes) and is dosed to a known, well-defined pharmacologic action (termination of arrhythmia) or to a maximum of two 10-minute infusions; (2) less than 10% of the dose of CORVERT is excreted unchanged in the urine; and (3) drug distribution appears to be one of the primary mechanisms responsible for termination of the pharmacologic effect. Nonetheless, patients with abnormal liver function should be monitored by telemetry for more than the 4-hour period generally recommended.
In 285 patients with atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter who were treated with CORVERT, the clearance of ibutilide was independent of renal function, as assessed by creatinine clearance (range 21 to 140 mL/min).