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Dofetilide (Tikosyn®) Use in the Inpatient Setting


The Company reserves the right to reimburse only those services that are furnished in the most appropriate and cost-effective setting that is appropriate to the member’s medical needs and condition.


An inpatient admission for the initiation, dose escalation or reinitiation of dofetilide (Tikosyn) is considered medically necessary and, therefore, covered for either of the following indications:
  • For conversion of atrial fibrillation (AF) and atrial flutter (AFL) (AF/AFL) to normal sinus rhythm (NSR)
  • For the maintenance of NSR (delay in time recurrence of AF/AFL) in individuals with AF/AFL of greater than 1 week's duration who have been converted to NSR
Dofetilide (Tikosyn) should be reserved for individuals in whom AF/AFL is highly symptomatic because the drug can cause life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias.

Therapy with dofetilide (Tikosyn) for initiation, dose escalation, and, if necessary, ​reinitiation, must be done according to the product labeling, for a minimum of 3 ​days in an inpatient setting that provides continuous electrocardiographic (ECG) monitoring in the presence of personnel trained in the management of serious ventricular arrhythmias. Additionally, individuals should not be discharged within 12 hours of electrical or pharmacologic conversion to NSR.
  • For information on maintenance therapy with dofetilide (Tikosyn), refer to the Guidelines section of this policy.

Dofetilide (Tikosyn) has not been shown to be effective in individuals with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation; therefore, it is considered not medically necessary and is not covered for this condition.


All other uses of dofetilide (Tikosyn) are considered experimental/investigational and, therefore, not covered unless the indication is supported as an accepted off-label use, as defined in the Company medical policy on off-label coverage for prescription drugs and biologics.


The individual's medical record must reflect the medical necessity for the care provided. These medical records may include, but are not limited to: records from the professional provider's office, hospital, nursing home, home health agencies, therapies, and test reports.

The Company may conduct reviews and audits of services to our members, regardless of the participation status of the provider. All documentation is to be available to the Company upon request. Failure to produce the requested information may result in a denial for the drug.


There is no Medicare coverage determination addressing dofetilide (Tikosyn) in the inpatient setting; therefore, the Company policy is applicable.


Refer to the specific manufacturer's prescribing information for any applicable Black Box Warnings.

Dofetilide (Tikosyn) has arrhythmogenic potential and may cause serious ventricular arrhythmias, principally polymorphic ventricular tachycardia associated with QT-interval prolongation (i.e., Torsades de pointes). Because an increased QT interval and the risk of ventricular arrhythmias are directly related to plasma dofetilide (Tikosyn) concentrations, electrocardiographic (ECG) monitoring for excessive increases in the QT interval, dosage adjustment based on calculated creatinine clearance, and the avoidance of certain medications with known drug interactions are essential.

According to the manufacturer, initiation of therapy with dofetilide (Tikosyn) and any subsequent increase in dosage should be performed in a hospital setting where cardiac resuscitation can be performed and where the individual can be monitored by personnel trained in the management of serious ventricular arrhythmias. Continuous ECG monitoring should be performed for a minimum of 3 days (until steady-state plasma concentrations are obtained), or for a minimum of 12 hours after electrical or pharmacologic conversion to normal sinus rhythm, whichever is greater. A previously successful increase in the dosage of dofetilide (Tikosyn) does not eliminate the need for rehospitalization for a subsequent dosage increase.


Subject to the applicable Evidence of Coverage, an inpatient admission for the initiation or reinitiation of dofetilide (Tikosyn) is covered under the medical benefits of the Company's Medicare Advantage products when the medical necessity criteria listed in this medical policy are met.

However, drugs that are identified in this policy as not medically necessary are not eligible for coverage or reimbursement by the Company.

Certain drugs are available through either the member's medical benefit (Part B benefit) or pharmacy benefit (Part D benefit), depending on how the drug is prescribed, dispensed, or administered. This medical policy only addresses instances when dofetilide (Tikosyn) is covered under a member's medical benefit (Part B benefit). It does not address instances when dofetilide (Tikosyn) is covered under a member’s pharmacy benefit (Part D benefit).


The FDA approved the use of dofetilide (Tikosyn) for the labeled indications in October 1999.

The safety and effectiveness of dofetilide (Tikosyn)​ in pediatric individuals have not been established.


Dofetilide (Tikosyn) is an oral antiarrhythmic drug with Class III properties, which can cause cardiac action potential prolongation. The mechanism of action is the blockade of the cardiac ion channel that carries the rapid component of the delayed rectifier potassium current, IKr. At concentrations covering several orders of magnitude, dofetilide (Tikosyn) blocks only IKr, with no relevant block of the other repolarizing potassium currents (e.g., IKs, IK1). At clinically relevant concentrations, dofetilide (Tikosyn) has no effect on sodium channels (associated with Class I effect), adrenergic alpha-receptors, or adrenergic beta-receptors (associated with Class II effect). This causes the refractory period of atrial tissue to increase, hence its effectiveness in the treatment of atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter.

Dofetilide (Tikosyn) can also cause serious ventricular arrhythmias, primarily Torsade de pointes, a type of ventricular tachycardia associated with QT prolongation.


Dofetilide (Tikosyn) is indicated for highly symptomatic atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter (irregular heartbeats). Dofetilide (Tikosyn) has also been shown to be effective in converting the irregular heartbeats to normal rhythm. In addition, dofetilide (Tikosyn) may help maintain the normal rhythm for a longer period of time.

There may be additional indications contained in the Policy section of this document due to evaluation of criteria highlighted in the Company’s off-label policy, and/or review of clinical guidelines issued by leading professional organizations and government entities.


American Hospital Formulary Service (AHFS). Dofetilide (Tikosyn®). Drug Information 2023. [Lexi-comp Web site]. 12/12/2023. Available at: [via subscription only]. Accessed January 9, 2024.

Brendorp B, Elming H, Jun L, et al. QTc interval as a guide to select those patients with congestive heart failure and reduced left ventricular systolic function who will benefit from antiarrhythmic treatment with dofetilide. Circulation. 2001;103:1422-1427.

Elsevier Gold's Standard Clinical Pharmacology Compendium. Dofetilide (Tikosyn®). [ClinicalKey Web site]. 08/13/2023. Available at:!/. [via subscription only]. Accessed January 9, 2024.

IBM Micromedex® DRUGDEX® (electronic version). Dofetilide(Tikosyn®). [Micromedex Web site]. IBM Watson Health, Greenwood Village, Colorado, USA. 01/04/2024. Available at: [via subscription only]. Accessed January 8, 2024.

Kaber L. Dofetilide, a new class III antiarrhythmic drug reduces hospital admissions for congestive heart failure - secondary endpoints of the DIAMOND-CHF study (abstract). J Am Coll Cardiol. 1998;31(suppl 2A):31.

Kober L, Bloch Thomsen PEB, Moller M, et al. Effect of dofetilide in patients with recent myocardial infarction and left-ventricular dysfunction: a randomised trial. Lancet. 2000;356:2052-2058.

Lexi-Drugs Compendium. Dofetilide(Tikosyn®). [Lexicomp Online Web site]. 01/04/2024. Available at: [via subscription only]. Accessed January 9, 2024.

Pedersen OD, Bagger H, Keller N, et al. Efficacy of dofetilide in the treatment of atrial fibrillation-flutter in patients with reduced left ventricular function. A Danish Investigations of Arrhythmia and Mortality ON Dofetilide (DIAMOND) substudy. Circulation. 2001;104:292-296.

Rousseau MF, Massart PE, Galanti L, et al. Contrasting effects of intravenous dofetilide and amiodarone on cardiac sympathetic drive in patients with congestive heart failure (abstract). J Am Coll Cardiol. 1998;31(suppl 2A):32.

Tikosyn® (dofetilide) [prescribing information]. New York, NY: Pfizer, Inc. 08/2023. Available at: Accessed January 8, 2024.

Torp-Pedersen C. Dofetilide: a new class III antiarrhythmic drug which is safe in patients with congestive heart failure (abstract). J Am Coll Cardiol. 1998;31(suppl 2A):160.

Torp-Pedersen C, Moller M, Bloch-Thomsen PE, et al. Dofetilide in patients with congestive heart failure and left ventricular dysfunction. N Engl J Med. 1999;341:857-865.

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Dofetilide (Tikosyn®). Prescribing information. [FDA Web site]. 08/08/2019. Available at: Accessed January 8, 2024.​


CPT Procedure Code Number(s)

ICD - 10 Procedure Code Number(s)

ICD - 10 Diagnosis Code Number(s)

I48.11Longstanding persistent atrial fibrillation
I48.19Other persistent atrial fibrillation
I48.20 Chronic atrial fibrillation, unspecified
I48.3Typical atrial flutter
I48.4Atypical atrial flutter
I48.0 Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation

HCPCS Level II Code Number(s)

Revenue Code Number(s)

Coding and Billing Requirements

Policy History

Medical Policy Bulletin
Medicare Advantage