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Open Medicine

formerly Central European Journal of Medicine

Editor-in-Chief: Darzynkiewicz, Zbigniew

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 1.221

CiteScore 2018: 1.01

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ICV 2017: 152.94

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Volume 9, Issue 3


Volume 10 (2015)

Amiodarone neurotoxicity: the other side of the medal

Giuliana Galassi / Eleni Georgoulopoulou / Alessandra Ariatti
Published Online: 2014-07-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11536-013-0306-y


The efficacy of amiodarone is tempered by its toxicity, with 50% of long-term users discontinuing the drug. The non-cardiac side effects of amiodarone may involve central and peripheral nervous system. We studied two patients treated with amiodarone for 46 and 15 months respectively. Both patients exhibited progressive distal extremity weakness, impaired perception, loss of deep reflexes. Electrophysiology identified a widespread, sensorimotor polyneuropathy with features of axonal loss and demyelination. Visual evoked potentials (VEPs) showed prolonged P100 latency bilaterally in absence of visual symptoms or brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) abnormalities. Extensive laboratory examinations excluded known causes of peripheral neuropathies. At 21 months after amiodarone withdrawal, P100 latency of case 1 VEPs returned to normal, whereas polyneuropathy continued to progress. In the second patient neuropathy has worsened similarly over 2 years whereas P100 latency of VEPs recovered to normal within 7 months after withdrawal of amiodarone. These findings may suggest different mechanisms of toxicity, which could be due to amiodarone pharmacokinetic and its metabolite effects on the peripheral nerves, as opposed to the optic nerve. We emphasize that use of amiodarone needs monitoring of patients at risk of development side effects.

Keywords: Amiodarone-induced neuropathy; Antiarrhythmic drugs; Optic neuropathy; Visual evoked potentials; Demyelination

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About the article

Published Online: 2014-07-08

Published in Print: 2014-06-01

Citation Information: Open Medicine, Volume 9, Issue 3, Pages 437–442, ISSN (Online) 2391-5463, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11536-013-0306-y.

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© 2014 Versita Warsaw. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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