Amiodarone is a class III antiarrhythmic agent and is used for the treatment of various types of tachyarrhythmias. Because of the toxicity and serious side-effects of amiodarone, use it cautiously and do not exceed the cumulative total of 2.2 grams in 24 hours.
Indications for ACLS
Within ACLS, amiodarone is used for its antiarrhythmic properties and is effective for the treatment of supraventricular arrhythmias and ventricular arrhythmias.
The mechanism of action for amiodarone’s antiarrhythmic properties remains unclear, but it continues to be the primary antiarrhythmic medication for the treatment of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia within the cardiac arrest algorithm.
For cardiac arrest, amiodarone is used after the third shock for ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia that is unresponsive to shock delivery, CPR, and vasopressors. For tachycardia with a pulse, amiodarone may be considered, and expert consultation should be obtained prior to its use.
Do not use amiodarone for individuals with polymorphic VT associated with a prolonged QT interval because this may worsen the patient’s condition.
Amiodarone is only used after defibrillation (or cardioversion) and epinephrine (first line medication) fail to convert VT/VF.
Amiodarone can be administered by intravenous or intraosseous route.
The maximum cumulative dose in a 24 hour period should not exceed 2.2 grams.
Within the VT/VF pulseless arrest algorithm, the dosing is as follows:
300mg IV/IO push → (if no conversion) 150 mg IV/IO push → (after conversion) Infusion #1 360 mg IV over 6 hours (1mg/min) → Infusion #2 540 mg IV over 18 hours (0.5mg/min)
For tachyarrhythmias that are not life-threatening, consider expert consultation before use.
For Tachycardia other than pulseless VT/VF, Amiodarone dosing is as follows: (see above note)
150 mg over 10 minutes → repeat as needed if VT recurs → maintenance infusion of 1mg/min for 6 hours
To prepare Amiodarone for an IV infusion, mix with D5W and give through an in-line filter. Alternatively, it is NOT necessary to dilute amiodarone for IV push administration and a filter is not necessary.
When infusions exceed 2 hours, amiodarone can absorb into the plastic used for standard IV bags. This will change the medication concentration. Therefore, when an infusion exceeds 2 hours use a glass or polyolefin bottle for the administration container.