, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 318-332,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 05 Mar 2014

Impact of Dronedarone Treatment on Healthcare Resource Utilization in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation/Flutter



The ATHENA (A Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind, Parallel Arm Trial to Assess the Efficacy of Dronedarone 400 mg bid for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Hospitalization or Death from Any Cause in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation/Atrial Flutter) trial demonstrated a significant reduction (26%) in the rate of first cardiovascular (CV) hospitalization in dronedarone-treated patients with paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation/flutter (AF/AFL). ATHENA was the first trial to demonstrate a CV outcomes benefit, specifically reduced CV hospitalizations, with an antiarrhythmic drug. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of dronedarone treatment on healthcare resource utilization among real-world patients with AF/AFL in United States clinical practice.


This retrospective cohort study used claims data from the MarketScan® databases (Truven Health, Durham, NC, USA) to identify patients with ≥2 concurrent de novo pharmacy claims for dronedarone (≥180 days’ total supply) between June 2009 and March 2011, and with an AF/AFL diagnosis and no heart failure-related hospitalization during the 12 months preceding the initial (index) dronedarone claim. Annualized inpatient and outpatient resource utilization were compared between the pre-index (baseline) and post-index (follow-up) periods.


In total, 5,656 AF/AFL patients were prescribed dronedarone for ≥6 months and were followed for mean (standard deviation) 11.9 (4.7) months. Reductions in mean numbers of annualized all-cause, CV- and AF-related hospitalizations (~40–45%), and emergency department visits (~30–45%) were realized. These benefits were offset by increases in office visits (~10–30%) and AF-related prescription claims (74%) after dronedarone initiation. The sub-cohort of patients switching to dronedarone from Prior Rhythm-Control therapy (n = 2,080) showed similar reductions in hospital and emergency department events.


This study suggests that dronedarone use in real-world practice, as in the ATHENA trial, results in substantial reductions in hospital admissions, both in first-line and second-line antiarrhythmic treatment settings.