Combinations of antiarrhythmic drugs are frequently used to treat refractory ventricular tachycardia (VT), but few scientific data support this practice. We examined the efficacy and electrophysiology of 110 antiarrhythmic drug combination trials at electrophysiologic study in 74 patients with recurrent ventricular tachycardia. Lidocaine was combined with quinidine in 33 trials, procainamide in 22 and encainide in 20. Propranolol was combined with quinidine in 17 trials, procainamide in 12 and encainide in six. All individual drugs tested (except propranolol, which was usually not tested individually) had failed at electrophysiologic study or clinically in the presence of usually accepted plasma concentrations. Lidocaine in combination with quinidine was effective in 3% of the trials, with procanamide in 5% and with encainide in none of the trials. Propranolol in combination with quinidine was effective in 18% of the trials, with procainamide in 17% and with encainide in none of the trials. The electrophysiologic effects of the tested drug combinations were dominated by the individual effects of the type 1 antiarrhythmic agents. We conclude that the tested antiarrhythmic drug combinations are infrequently effective in preventing VT induction at electrophysiologic study when each agent has failed individually. The addition of lidocaine or propranolol to quinidine, procainamide or encainide does not produce significant synergistic or new effects on the electrophysiologic variables analyzed.
View details for Web of Science ID A1982PR37200012
View details for PubMedID 6814784