Potentiation of the anticoagulant-effect of warfarin by amiodarone was studied in 30 patients. Thirteen received both drugs concurrently, and 17 received warfarin alone and the combination sequentially. Warfarin doses were adjusted to maintain the prothrombin time between 25-30% of control and its kinetics were compared to those in 20 control patients who received warfarin alone. Potentiation occurred in 28/30 patients, presenting as a 35%-65% reduction in the required dose of warfarin, and was correlated with the dose of amiodarone (r = 0.77, p less than 0.01). The free warfarin fraction was not affected by amiodarone (1.8% vs 1.6% in the controls). Warfarin clearance was lower in amiodarone-treated patients than in the controls (1.4 vs 3.1 ml/min, p less than 0.01) with similar plasma concentrations (1.5 vs 1.2 micrograms/ml) despite administration of lower doses (23.3 vs 39 mg/week respectively). The amiodarone concentration was significantly correlated with the warfarin concentrations independent of the effect of amiodarone on the dose of warfarin. Amiodarone hat no effect on prothrombin other than through its actions on the dose and plasma concentration of warfarin. The mechanism of the amiodarone-warfarin interaction is pharmacokinetic through dose - and concentration - dependent inhibition of warfarin elimination.
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