Azithromycin, a commonly prescribed antibiotic, better known as Zithromax or the Z-Pak, may now carry a serious new risk. Sudden heart attack.
The finding comes from a study of Medicaid patients who received some 348,000 Z-Pak prescriptions from 1992 to 2006.
Compared to patients who took no antibiotics, those taking the five-day course of azithromycin treatment had about a threefold higher risk of heart death. Compared to patients with infections treated with amoxicillin, another antibiotic, those taking azithromycin had twice the risk of heart death.
Even so, it’s a small risk. For every million courses of azithromycin treatment there were an estimated 47 extra heart deaths. Among people at highest risk of heart disease, there were 245 extra heart deaths per million courses of azithromycin.
The study appears in the May 17 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.[related_posts limit=”5″]