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Torsade de pointes caused by polypharmacy and substance abuse in a patient with human immunodeficiency virus

By Jane M. Prosser, Angela Mills, Eugene S. Rhim and Jeanmarie Perrone


Drug-induced QT prolongation is a potentially dangerous adverse effect of some medication combinations. When QT prolongation progresses to torsade de pointes, life-threatening or fatal outcomes may result. A 57-year-old man with a history of human immunodeficiency syndrome on abacavir, nevirapine, tenofovir, voriconazole, and methadone presented to the emergency department with a chief complaint of new-onset seizures. The physical exam was unremarkable. The electrocardiogram demonstrated sinus bradycardia and a prolonged QTc interval of 690 ms. In the emergency department, he had several episodes of torsade de pointes (TdP) and ventricular tachycardia that resolved spontaneously. These episodes were accompanied by an alteration in mentation and generalized twitching. Magnesium and amiodarone were effective in terminating the dysrhythmia. The patient had multiple risk factors for prolonged QT syndrome including human immunodeficiency virus infection, methadone therapy, and polypharmacy leading to potential drug interactions. Physicians must be aware of multidrug interactions potentiating QT prolongation and leading to torsade de pointes

Topics: Brief Research Report
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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