Doctors need to think twice before writing for antibiotics (Abx) I have blogged about the hazards of over prescribing these drugs for viral infections. But a second consideration is the exposure to life threatening heart arrhythmias (abnormal rhythm/beating pattern). A study (10 years) of US veterans who were prescribed amoxicillin, azithromycin (Z-pak™) and levofloxacin reveals more dangers. Investigators found increase of death risk and dangerous arrhythmias when taking azithromycin for 5 days. Same increased risk in those taking levofloxacin as directed for 10 days. No increase in cardiac arrythimias or deaths from taking amoxicillin. Important I believe is the study subjects were of an average age of 56.
Contrary last year in Denmark a study showed that azithromycin was not associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular death in younger and middle-age adults compared with penicillin.
The New England Journal of Medicine (2012) published data that showed the increased risk of cardiovascular death was higher with the macrolide Abxs (levofloxacin, azithromycin) compared with amoxicillin or no Abx treatment. Result FDA issued a warning last year for this class of Abx drugs.
Please realize that these Abx are still on the market because the absolute risks were relatively low. Listen to your body antibiotics can have all sorts of side effects and even cause death!
Note: These are all too common Abxs given for ear nose throat and respiratory (lung) infections. Overwhelming information shows most of these infections are caused by viruses- remember antibiotics do not kill viruses!