Proarrhythmic effects of the new antiarrhythmic agent flecainide acetate

Am Heart J. 1984 Feb;107(2):222-8. doi: 10.1016/0002-8703(84)90368-5.


Flecainide acetate, a new potent class I antiarrhythmic agent, was given to 152 patients (46 orally and 106 intravenously) over a period of 22 months. Seven patients developed proarrhythmic effects. The only conduction abnormalities induced were PR interval prolongation and QRS complex widening, and no patient developed significant sinus bradyarrhythmias; patients with known serious abnormalities of impulse generation or conduction were excluded from this study. Five patients developed ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation of whom only three had preexisting ventricular arrhythmias. QT and QTc interval prolongation was observed but was due to QRS complex widening rather than to an increase in the JT interval. A patient with the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome had an inducible orthodromic atrioventricular (AV) tachycardia prior to flecainide, but only an antidromic tachycardia was induced after the drug. In one patient flecainide administration resulted in an increase of atrial flutter cycle length which resulted in development of 1:1 AV conduction and overall faster ventricular rate. Two patients who developed ventricular arrhythmias were taking other antiarrhythmic agents, and in this series proarrhythmic effects occurred with both normal and high flecainide concentrations.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / adverse effects*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / chemically induced*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / drug therapy
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / physiopathology
  • Atrioventricular Node / drug effects
  • Atrioventricular Node / physiopathology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Flecainide
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Piperidines / administration & dosage
  • Piperidines / adverse effects*
  • Tachycardia / chemically induced
  • Tachycardia / drug therapy
  • Tachycardia / physiopathology


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Piperidines
  • Flecainide