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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Heart Failure Clinics Volume 7, Issue 2, April 2011, Pages 195-205. The published version is available at DOI: 10.1016/j.hfc.2010.12.003. Copyright © Elsevier Inc.


The implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is the standard of care in patients with ischemic and nonischemic cardiomyopathy who are at high risk for arrhythmic events and sudden cardiac death. Although an ICD saves life, ICD shocks are emotionally and physically debilitating. Most patients receive adjuvant antiarrhythmic drug therapy to circumvent episodes of recurrent ventricular and supraventricular arrhythmias. Antiarrhythmic drugs including β-blockers, sotalol, amiodarone, and azimilide are effective at reducing the shock burden. This article describes data supporting the need for and potential risks and benefits of adjuvant antiarrhythmic drug therapy and examines the benefits and pitfalls of the same in ICD-implanted patients.

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