Use of Flecainide for the Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation

Am J Cardiol. 2020 Apr 1;125(7):1123-1133. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2019.12.041. Epub 2020 Jan 9.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia and is associated with substantial morbidity and impairment of quality of life. Restoration and maintenance of normal sinus rhythm is a desirable goal for many patients with AF; however, this strategy is limited by the relatively small number of antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) available for AF rhythm control. Although it is recommended in current medical guidelines as first-line therapy for patients without structural heart disease, the use of flecainide has been curtailed since the completion of the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial. In clinical trials and real-world use, flecainide has proven to be more effective than other AADs for the acute termination of recent onset AF. Flecainide is also moderately effective and, with the exception of amiodarone, equivalent to other AADs for the chronic suppression of paroxysmal and persistent AF. In patients without structural heart disease, flecainide has been demonstrated to be safe and well tolerated relative to other AADs. Despite this favorable profile, flecainide is underutilized, likely due to a perceived risk of ventricular proarrhythmia, a concern that has not been borne out in patients without underlying structural heart disease. Guidelines for administration and use of flecainide are summarized in this review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / therapeutic use
  • Atrial Fibrillation / drug therapy*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Flecainide / therapeutic use*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Flecainide