Drugs and the QTc interval

Rohan Jayasinghe*, Pramesh Kovoor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Many commonly used drugs can prolong the QTc interval, especially if used in combination with other substances which affect their metabolism. Prolongation of the QTc interval can cause life-threatening polymorphic ventricular tachycardia also known as torsade de pointes. Women and certain susceptible people are more prone to prolongation of the QTc interval. This predisposition could be congenital or due to conditions such as hypokalaemia, hypomagnesaemia, renal failure or cardiac failure. Susceptible patients need an electrocardiogram before and after starting drugs that can prolong the QTc interval. If a drug prolongs the QTc interval beyond normal limits, the benefits of continuing the drug should be weighed against the relatively rare risk of potentially life-threatening arrhythmias.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-65
Number of pages3
JournalAustralian Prescriber
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Antiarrhythmic drugs
  • Torsade de pointes


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