Antibiotic Linked to Heart Deaths

Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 12:44 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

Danish researchers reported a link Wednesday between a commonly-used antibiotic and a "significantly" higher risk of heart deaths, while observers urged caution in interpreting the results.
 
In a study published online by the British medical journal The BMJ, the team said clarithromycin use was associated with a 76-percent higher risk of cardiac death, compared to use of penicillin V.
 
"The absolute risk difference was 37 cardiac deaths per 1 million courses with clarithromycin," reported the trio from the Statens Serum Institute's epidemiology department in Copenhagen.
 
The risk stopped when treatment ended.
 
Clarithromycin is prescribed to millions of people every year, to treat bacterial infections like pneumonia, bronchitis and some skin infections.
 
The team had analysed data from more than five million antibiotics courses given to Danish adults aged 40 to 74 in the period 1997 to 2011.
 
Of the patients, just over 160,000 had received clarithromycin, 590,000 roxithromycin, and 4.4 million penicillin V.
 
Clarithromycin and roxithromycin are macrolides -- antibiotics that affect the electrical activity of the heart muscle and are thought to increase the risk of fatal heart rhythm problems, the researchers said.
 
No increased in risk was observed with roxithromycin.
 
While the absolute increase in risk with clarithromycin was small, the team said, it was "one of the more commonly used antibiotics in many countries... thus the total number of excess cardiac deaths may not be negligible."
 
The researchers called for their findings to be confirmed in further studies, even as a host of other experts pointed out that the study did not warrant a halt to clarithromycin use.
 
There were shortcomings in the paper, including that the researchers had no data on whether patients smoked or were obese -- which could explain some of the differences in death rates, said Kevin McConway, an applied statistics professor at The Open University.
 
"Since in any case the cardiac death rate while on these drugs is very small, this isn't a risk that I personally would worry about anyway," he wrote in a reaction distributed by the Science Media Center.
 
Mike Knapton of the British Heart Foundation said it was already known that doctors should exercise caution when prescribing clarithromycin to patients with a certain heart syndrome.
 
"The bottom line is no one should be taking antibiotics unless they absolutely have to and doctors should give careful consideration before prescribing them," he said.

© AFP 2014

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Wait Until October to Get Flu Shot: Expert

Sunday, 21 Sep 2014 09:57 AM

It's best to wait until October to get the flu shot, says a top infectious disease expert.

Otherwise, there  . . .

Blood Sugar Control Doesn't Help Diabetics Avoid Heart Attacks: Study

Saturday, 20 Sep 2014 09:06 AM

A six-year study of people with type 2 diabetes found that intensively lowering blood pressure had a long-lasting effect . . .

700 Babies Possibly Exposed to TB at Texas Hospital

Friday, 19 Sep 2014 23:45 PM

More than 700 infants may have been exposed to tuberculosis at an El Paso hospital over the past year by an employee rec . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved