Long-term antiarrhythmic therapy. Problem of low drug levels and patient noncompliance

Anthony Squire, Martin E. Goldman, Joel Kupersmith, Eric H. Stern, Valentin Fuster, Paul Schweitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Maintenance of adequate serum blood levels Is crucial to successful antiarrhythmic therapy. Serum levels of four antlarrhythmlc agents (long-acting procainamlde, quinldine sulfate, quinidlne gluconate, and disopyramide) were determined in 98 consecutive ambulatory patients receiving long-term oral therapy. Medication dosages, dosing intervals, and time elapsed from last dosage until blood sampling were determined. Seventy-five patients (76.5 percent) had subtherapeutic blood levels (with mean levels less than 50 percent of the suggested minimum), and only 22 patients (22.5 percent) had therapeutic levels. Even among the 61 patients who claimed to have taken their medications within the six hours prior to blood sampling, 43 (70 percent) had subtherapeutic levels. These ratios held among all subgroups studied. Physicians should be aware of the high proportion of patients receiving long-term oral antiarrhythmic therapy with inadequate serum blood levels when planning therapeutic regimens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035-1038
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1984


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