Tertiary amine local anesthetics (LAs) are clinically valuable agents for controlling pain and for treating some cardiac arrhythmias. These drugs inhibit conduction of electrical activity by blocking voltage-gated sodium channels. Interestingly, LAs can influence the conduction of electrical activity in heart muscle without markedly altering normal skeletal muscle activity. This review discusses the interactions between sodium channels and LAs, the methods used to investigate these interactions, and the mechanisms proposed to explain the greater LA sensitivity of cardiac sodium channels as compared with skeletal muscle sodium channels.
Keywords: cardiotoxicity, antiarrhythmic, sodium channel, cocaine, lidocaine
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