NICE publishes final draft guidance on the use of dronedarone for treating atrial fibrillation
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently appraising the use of dronedarone (Multaq) for the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF) - a disturbance of the heart's rhythm. In its final draft guidance published today, (16 July), NICE has reaffirmed the decision in its previous draft to recommend the limited use of the drug as a second-line treatment in people with additional cardiovascular risk factors whose AF has not been controlled by first-line therapy.
Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE Chief Executive, said: "The independent Appraisal Committee concluded that although dronedarone reduced atrial fibrillation recurrence compared with placebo, it appeared to be less effective for atrial fibrillation recurrence than other antiarrhythmic drugs. However, it noted comments from patients and clinical experts received during consultation on a previous draft that all current antiarrhythmic drugs have side effects that have a significant impact on quality of life with long-term use. It heard from patient experts that some people with atrial fibrillation might prefer to take dronedarone because it has fewer side effects, despite it being less effective in preventing recurrence of atrial fibrillation.
He continued: “The Committee also accepted evidence that the risk of mortality with dronedarone was likely to be lower than with current anti-arrhythmic drugs. Finally, because the cost-effectiveness estimates for the drug were largely based on a single clinical trial, which included people who had a higher risk of a major cardiovascular event, we have recommended that dronedarone is considered as a treatment option only in people who have additional cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes or high blood pressure.”
In line with the NICE technology appraisals process this draft guidance is now with consultees, who have the opportunity to appeal against the proposed guidance. NICE has not yet issued final guidance to the NHS. Final guidance is expected to be published in August 2010.
Until NICE issues final guidance, NHS bodies should make decisions locally on the funding of specific treatments. Once NICE issues its guidance on a technology it replaces local recommendations across the country.
Notes to Editors
About the guidance
1. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is one of the most common heart rhythm disturbance conditions. It can cause symptoms such as palpitations and tiredness.
2. AF is associated with an increased risk of thrombus (blood clot) formation and thromboembolism including ischaemic strokes.
3. The prevalence of AF increases with age with a prevalence of 0.5% at age 50-59 years increasing to almost 9% at age 80-89 years. In the UK, more than 46,000 new cases of AF are diagnosed each year.
4. Standard baseline therapy for AF may include drugs to maintain sinus rhythm, where beta-blockers are usually the first choice. Where standard baseline therapy with a beta-blocker is ineffective, contraindicated or not tolerated, second line therapy is chosen according to various factors including whether the person has structural heart abnormalities. Either flecainide or sotalol may be chosen if there are no structural abnormalities and amiodarone may be used in people with structural heart disease.
5. The cost per day based on the recommended dosage of dronedarone would be £2.25. The cost of an existing comparator drug, amiodarone, is approximately £0.05 per day.
6. View the appraisal of dronedarone for atrial fibrillation for further information.
7. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.
8. NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:
- public health - guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector
- health technologies - guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments and procedures within the NHS
- clinical practice - guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS.
This page was last updated: 15 July 2010