(HealthDay News) — Amiodarone treatment for arrhythmias is associated with a higher risk of developing cancer, particularly in males and with increasing dose, according to a study published online April 8 in Cancer.

Noting that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reported that cancer can develop after amiodarone treatment, Vincent Yi-Fong Su, M.D., from Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan, and colleagues retrospectively compared the risk of cancer in 6,418 patients (3,674 males and 2,744 females) in Taiwan who were treated with amiodarone from 1997 to 2008 with that of the general population.

After a median follow-up of 2.57 years, the researchers found 280 cases of cancer. The risk of cancer was higher after amiodarone treatment (standardized incidence ratio [SIR] 1.12; P = .067), especially among male patients (SIR 1.18; P = .022), but the results were of borderline significance. Among patients with a cumulative defined daily dose (CDDD) greater than 180 within the first year, the SIR was 1.28 overall (P = .046), but was 1.46 (P = .008) among male patients. After adjusting for age, sex, and comorbidities, the hazard ratio for the highest tertile of CDDD compared with the lowest was 1.98 (P = .006), according to the study.

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“The results of the current study indicate that amiodarone may be associated with an increased risk of incident cancer, especially in males, with a dose-dependent effect,” the authors write.

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