ABSTRACT: There are limited data from randomized controlled trials comparing rate control agents in atrial fibrillation. Patient-level data from the Atrial Fibrillation Follow-up Investigation of Rhythm Management (AFFIRM) trial was used to compare outcomes in patients randomized to the rate control arm who were treated with a single rate control agent at baseline. The rate control agents used were beta-blockers, non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers, and digoxin. The independent variable for this analysis was the initial study drug used and the dependent variables were time to first hospitalization and time to death from any cause. We analyzed 1,144 out of 2,027 participants assigned to the rate control group who were on a single rate control agent at the start of the trial. There were 485 (42.5%) participants in the beta-blocker group, 344 (30%) in the calcium channel blocker group, and 315 (27.5%) in the digoxin group. All hospitalization and all-cause mortality occurred in 55.9% and 12.5% of those in the beta-blocker group, 58.4% and 16.7% in the calcium channel blocker group, and 55.2% and 21.1% in the digoxin group, respectively. After adjustment for differences in baseline characteristics, there were no significant differences in time to hospitalization or death for any group. In the AFFIRM trial, the initial rate control drug used was not associated with statistically significant differences in time to hospitalization or death after controlling for differences in baseline characteristics. There is limited data at present to guide the selection of rate control agents in patients with atrial fibrillation.
Zaman M, et al. A Comparison of Rate Control Agents for the Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation: Follow-Up Investigation of the AFFIRM Study. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 2021 Jul;26(4): 328-334. doi: 10.1177/1074248420987451. Epub 2021 Jan 29.