Am J Cardiol. 2020 Jul 28:S0002-9149(20)30788-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2020.07.053. Online ahead of print.
Bretylium, with an extensive pharmacologic and medicinal history, was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 1986 for "short-term prevention and treatment of ventricular fibrillation (VF) and treatment of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias and ventricular tachycardia (VT) unresponsive to adequate doses of a first-line antiarrhythmic agent, such as lidocaine." The NDA sponsor withdrew bretylium from the market in 2011, largely due to unavailability of raw materials required for its production; prior to this, bretylium was removed from the 2000 ACLS Guidelines algorithm for VF/pulseless VT given the challenges obtaining raw materials for drug manufacture. Recently, bretylium has been reintroduced into the US market by a generic pharmaceutical company with the same indications as before. This article provides a history of the salient trials evaluating the efficacy and safety of bretylium and looks to the future as bretylium finds its place in the modern day management of ventricular arrhythmia.