Pharmacology and Clinical Use of Mexiletine

Paul E. Fenster, Keith A. Comess

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45 Scopus citations


Mexiletine is an antiarrhythmic agent with structural and electrophysiologic properties similar to those of lidocaine. Mexiletine decreases ventricular automaticity while shortening both action potential duration and effective refractory period. The drug may be administered orally or intravenously. Hepatic metabolism is the major route of elimination. The elimination half‐life is approximately 10 hours, but longer in patients with acute myocardial infarction, chronic congestive heart failure or hepatic insufficiency. Mexiletine suppresses ventricular ectopy in the acute phase of myocardial infarction. The drug is effective for some patients in whom lidocaine has failed. It suppresses chronic ventricular ectopy and is well tolerated in approximately two‐thirds of stable outpatients treated with this agent. In that population, mexiletine is comparable in efficacy to quinidine, procainamide and disopyramide. It is effective in 30–50% of patients with ventricular arrhythmias refractory to other antiarrhythmic drugs. In patients with refractory arrhythmias, the efficacy of mexiletine may be enhanced by combination with propranolol, quinidine or amiodarone. Adverse reactions limit use of mexiletine in approximately 20% of patients. Gastrointestinal and central nervous system side effects are the most common. Mexiletine does not depress myocardial function. Aggravation of arrhythmias is uncommonly observed. The usual intravenous dose of mexiletine is 150–250 mg over at least 10 minutes. Long‐term oral dosages are usually 200–300 mg 3 or 4 times daily. 1986 Pharmacotherapy Publications Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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