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Lack of quinidine linked to serious arrhythmia

The lack of quinidine accessibility in many countries is a serious medical hazard at the global level, probably related to serious arrhythmias, according to a study1 published recently in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Quinidine is the only oral medication that is effective for preventing life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias due to Brugada syndrome and idiopathic ventricular fibrillation. However, because of its low price and restricted indication, this medication is not marketed in many countries, according to background information from the study.

Researchers conducted a world survey of quinidine availability by contacting professional medical societies and arrhythmia specialists worldwide. Physicians were emailed questionnaires requesting information concerning the quinidine preparation available at their hospital. They also requested information concerning cases of adverse arrhythmic events resulting from lack of quinidine availability.

A total of 273 physicians from 131 countries provided information regarding quinidine availability. Quinidine is readily available in only 19 (14%) countries, the study found. In contrast, this medication is not accessible in 99 (76%) countries, and is available only through specific regulatory processes (requiring 4–30 days for completion in 13 (10%) countries). The authors gathered information concerning 22 patients who had serious arrhythmias probably related (10 cases) or possibility related (12 cases) to the absence of quinidine, including two fatalities possibly due to quinidine unavailability, they said.


1. Viskin S, Wilde AAM, Guevara-Valdivia ME, et al. Quinidine, a life-saving medication for Brugada syndrome, is inaccessible in many countries. J Am Coll Cardiol 2013.

Published on: May 22, 2013

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  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association

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