The American journal of emergency medicine

Comparison of the therapeutic effect between sodium bicarbonate and insulin on acute propafenone toxicity.

PMID 25151327


Unlike other sodium-channel-blocking antiarrhythmic agents, propafenone has β-blocking effects and calcium-channel-blocking effects. Yi et al recently studied insulin's treatment effect on acute propafenone toxicity in rats. However, because the degree of effectiveness of insulin compared to the previously known antidote sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) was not studied, the 2 treatment methods were compared for propafenone intoxication in rats. Rats received intravenous propafenone (36 mg/[kg h]) for 12 minutes. After the induction of toxicity, rats (n = 10 per group) received normal saline solution (NSS), NaHCO3, or insulin with glucose as treatment. Animals in the NSS, NaHCO3, and Insulin groups received an intravenous infusion of 36 mg/(kg h) propafenone until death occurred. For each animal, the mean arterial pressure (MAP, heart rate, PR interval, QRS duration, total hemoglobin, sodium, potassium, potential of hydrogen, bicarbonate, glucose, lactate, and central venous oxygen saturation (Scvo2) were measured and compared among the groups. Survival of the Insulin group was greater than that of the NSS group by log-rank test (P = .021). Sodium bicarbonate prevented the decline of MAP for 55 minutes. In comparison, insulin prevented the decline of MAP and heart rate, and the elongation of the PR interval and QRS duration for 55 minutes (P < .05). Propafenone toxicity led to decreased Ca(2+), potential of hydrogen, and Scvo2 and increased lactate levels. Insulin prevented the decrease of Ca(2+) and Scvo2, whereas NaHCO3 prevented the increase in lactate. Insulin treatment was more effective than NaHCO3 on acute propafenone toxicity in rat. Therefore, when propafenone-induced cardiotoxicity occurs, which is unresponsive to current treatment methods, glucose-insulin infusion may be considered.

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Propafenone hydrochloride
C21H27NO3 · HCl
Propafenone hydrochloride, European Pharmacopoeia (EP) Reference Standard
C21H27NO3 · HCl