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Friday, March 15, 2013
Zithromax antibiotics tied to rare heart risks
An antibiotic widely used for bronchitis and other common infections seems to increase chances for sudden deadly heart problems, a rare but surprising risk found in a 14-year study.
Zithromax, or azithromycin, is more expensive than other antibiotics, but it's popular because it often can be taken for fewer days. But the results suggest doctors should prescribe other options for people already prone to heart problems, the researchers and other experts said.
Vanderbilt University researchers analyzed health records and data on millions of prescriptions for several antibiotics given to about 540,000 Tennessee Medicaid patients from 1992 to 2006. 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.