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Common Antibiotic Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Failure

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Morgan Cain3 years ago

According to The Independent the commonly prescribed antibiotic clarthromycin  has been linked to a greater risk of death from cardiac arrest.

What is Clarithromycin?

Clarithromycin is used to treat patients with various types of bacterial infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and more commonly infections of the ears, skin, sinuses and throat.

It is classified within the class of medicines known as macrolide antibiotics.  It prevents the growth of bacteria within the body.

However, macrolides can interfere with the electrical activity of the heart muscle and possibly increase risk of fatal heart problems.  This is why clarithromycin is discouraged for patients with any history of heart problems.

Information About the Study Conducted:

  • According to CBS News and The Independent, researchers looked at more than five million cases of antibiotic treatment in Danish adults.  For every million courses of clarithromycin there were 37 additional deaths due to cardiac arrests.
  • Clarithromycin was compared against other antibiotics, most notably roxithromycin.  The risk of cardiac death was only in patients who took clarithromycin.
  • However, because the risk was so small within the study, researchers did not recommend that prescribing practices be changed.
  • This study has shown that health professionals should continue to exercise caution in prescribing clarithromycin to patients with heart conditions.


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