Use of a common antibiotic, azithromycin, appears to significantly increase the risk of sudden cardiac death when compared with no antibiotic treatment, according to analysis of from The New England Journal of Medicine.
Two other macrolide antibiotics, erythromycin and clarithromycin, are known to increase risk of heart-related events such as ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death, but azithromycin had not been associated with cardiovascular risk.During the study period, there were 347,795 prescriptions for azithromycin, 1,348,672 for amoxicillin, 264,626 for ciprofloxacin, and 193,906 for levofloxacin. In addition, the researchers identified 1,391,180 controls not given antibiotics. Patients who took azithromycin had an estimated 47 additional cardiovascular deaths per 1 million 5-day courses of therapy
Compared with no antibiotic treatment, azithromycin use also had an increased risk for death from any cause.