Research highlight

A new treatment for arrhythmia

Nature Medicine

March 30, 2009

A drug currently available in the clinic could be used to treat patients with an inherited form of cardiac arrhythmia, according to a study published this week in Nature Medicine.

CPVT―a specific type of ventricular tachycardia―is a potentially lethal form of arrhythmia. It is commonly linked to mutations in cardiac calcium channels known as ryanodine receptors. Pharmacological interventions against CPVT are often ineffective, but Bj?rn Knollmann and his colleagues have now found that flecainide―a drug already approved to treat other arrhythmias by acting on sodium channels―prevents disease in a mouse model of CPVT by a new mechanism: the direct inhibition of calcium release mediated by cardiac ryanodine receptors.

Flecainide also prevented CPVT in two patients who had not responded to conventional drug therapy, indicating that this currently available drug is a promising mechanism-based therapy against this condition.

doi: 10.1038/nm.1942

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