The common antibiotic Azithromycin, frequently called the Z-pak, has been shown to cause heart problems, and can even can be fatal. Z-pak is used to treat bacterial infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and ear infections. It is a more expensive antibiotic compared to other antibiotics and has been around for two decades. The Z-pak is used for 5 days and other antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, is 10 days. There were 55 million prescriptions for Z-pak in 2012 and the total sales in 2012 were 464 million.
The common antibiotic known as a z pak has been shown to be linked to heart problems.
The FDA issued a warning that is following a study performed on the antibiotic. The FDA warning is saying that patients with low levels of potassium and magnesium in the blood may be at a higher risk. Patients that who have a slower heart rate than normal, or are taking drugs to treat arrhythmias should be careful. The study, published last May in the New England Journal of Medicine, and also by the manufacturer, Pfizer, of the antibiotic. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute helped provide funding for the research.
Researchers at the Vanderbilt University looked at thousands of Tennessee Medicaid patients over a period of 14 years. During that period, it showed a 2.5 times higher risk of death from heart disease in the 5 days of using a Z-Pak when it was compared to another common antibiotic or no antibiotics at all. The gap was the widest when examining the 10 percent of those patients with the worst cases of cardiovascular disease. There were 29 heart-related deaths among those who took this antibiotic. Patients studied were age 50 on average and not hospitalized. This may cause changes in the electrical activity of the heart. This is truly concerning and could be dangerous to someone who already has heart problems, according to Wayne Ray, preventative medicine professor at Vanderbilt, as well as the lead researcher. Ray says “the risk of death may outweigh convenience and compliance at least for high-risk patients.” Complications such as this are not common, but people should never take antibiotics casually. To better under stand the risk, there were 85 fatalities per million courses of Z-Pak taken, compared to 31 deaths per million courses of amoxicillin. The immune system is usually able to handle mild infections without taking medications , but when severe, antibiotics are needed. Abuse or misuse of antibiotics can lead to bacterial resistance in the future. You will need to discuss with your health care provider if Z-Pak is a good option for you.