Posts Tagged ‘Zithromax’

A Word of Caution especially to Cardiacs’

Zithromax (azithromycin), is not only a more expensive antibiotic than other antibiotics but also seems to be an expensive one at Heart. Doctors should weigh other options for people already prone to heart problems, the researchers and other experts suggested. It is a popular antibiotic because it often can be taken for a fewer days compared to other antibiotics, for example: about 10 days for amoxicillin and other antibiotics and five-day course will suffice in case of Zithromax.


Azithromycin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is widely used for bronchitis, sinus infections and pneumonia, and other common infections but seems to increase chances for sudden deadly heart problems. A rare but surprising risk found in a 14-year study. Also, antibiotics in the same class as Zithromax have been linked with sudden cardiac death. In the current study, patients those on Zithromax were about as healthy as those on other antibiotics, making it unlikely that an underlying condition might explain the increased death risk, researchers said.

Researchers analysis at Vanderbilt University indicates that there were 29 heart-related deaths among those who took Zithromax during five days of treatment. Their risk of death while taking the drug was more than double that of patients on another antibiotic, amoxicillin, or those who took none.

To compare risks, the researchers calculated that the number of deaths per 1 million courses of antibiotics would be about 85 among Zithromax patients versus 32 among amoxicillin patients and 30 among those on no antibiotics. The highest risks were in Zithromax patients with existing heart problems. Patients in each group started out with comparable risks for heart trouble, the researchers said. The results suggest there would be 47 extra heart-related deaths per 1 million courses of treatment with Zithromax. The risk of cardiovascular death was significantly greater with azithromycin than with ciprofloxacin but did not differ significantly from that with levofloxacin.

Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a Yale University health outcomes specialist who was not involved in the study said that “People need to recognize that the overall risk is low,”. More research is needed to confirm the findings, but still, he said patients with heart disease “should probably be steered away” from Zithromax for now.

At the same time, Dr. Bruce Psaty, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington, of opinion that doctors and patients need to know about the potential risks. He said the results also raise concerns about long-term use of Zithromax, which other research suggests could benefit people with severe lung disease. Additional research is needed to determine if that kind of use could be dangerous, he said.

The study appears in the New England Journal of Medicine. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute helped pay for the research. Wayne Ray, a Vanderbilt professor of medicine, studied the drug’s risks because of evidence linking it with potential heart rhythm problems.

Pfizer is committed to patients safety and issued a statement saying it would thoroughly review the study and “Patient safety is of the utmost importance to Pfizer and we continuously monitor the safety and efficacy of our products to ensure that the benefits and risks are accurately described,” the company said.


Additional info on Zithromax

Reported by Dr. Venkat Karra, Ph.D

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