Common antibiotic could lead to fatal heart issues

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antibiotic(NaturalHealth365) Antibiotics are a popular class of drugs that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate are frequently over-prescribed. In fact, the CDC has previously suggested that as many as 1 in 3 antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary!

Used to kill infections, antibiotics can also wreak havoc on your gut health and immune system. And along with the physicians incorrectly prescribing them and individuals incorrectly taking them, antibiotics are giving rise to the dangerous public health crisis of antibiotic resistance, aka “superbugs.”  To make matters worse, data indicates that a certain type of antibiotic sold as, Zithromax poses serious heart risks to consumers.

Heart attack warning: Zithromax antibiotic could be a deadly choice

Zithromax is an antibiotic typically prescribed for infections like bronchitis, ear infections, and pneumonia.  Sometimes called azithromycin, Zmax, or “Z-Pack”, many doctors and patients prefer it because it can be taken for fewer days than other common antibiotics like amoxicillin. Compared to the typical 10-day course, a full course of Zithromax is only five days.

However, Zithromax is twice as expensive as generic amoxicillin and can cost as much as a few bucks per pill – which likely explains why pharmaceutical companies love it so much (sales for the drug topped $464 million in 2011 in the United States alone).

But data from a 2012 study out of Vanderbilt University determined that people who use Zithromax have an increased risk of sudden deadly heart issues. Researchers looked at millions of antibiotic prescriptions given to well over half a million Medicaid patients between the years of 1992 and 2006.

They discovered that 29 heart-related deaths occurred among people taking Zithromax during the short five-day course.

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While rare, these heart-related deaths were enough to show that certain individuals taking Z-Pack drugs may be twice as likely to die while taking the drug compared to similar individuals taking other kinds of antibiotics (or taking none at all).  The proposed reason is that Z-Pack drugs may lead to dysfunctional electrical activity and ultimately lead to fatal heart rhythms.

This data has been corroborated by other research, including a follow-up paper published in May 2012 in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautions medical providers to avoid giving Zithromax to patients with known cardiovacular risk factors, including prolonged QT intervals, potassium or magnesium deficiencies, bradycardia (slow heart rate), or people already taing drugs to treat abnormal heart rhythms.

How to avoid the need for antibiotics and reduce your risk of infections

Let’s face it: antibiotics are a risky class of drugs and are medically unnecessary at least 30% of the time.

So, to help yourself stay healthy throughout the year and help you avoid both bacterial infections and antibiotics …

  • Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C and vitamin D through foods like leafy greens, citrus fruits, fatty fish and eggs (you can also back up your health with high quality supplements).
  • Cut out heavily processed foods: Especially simple sugars, these foods are main drivers behind the rise of chronic disease and can make you sick, fat, and more prone to infections.
  • Commit to good quality sleep! Not getting enough sleep damages your immune system. It also promotes weight gain and higher levels of stress.

Sources for this article include:

NHS.uk
Mayoclinic.org
CBSnews.com
NEJM.org
Medicalnewstoday.com
Yahoo.com
CDC.gov
FDA.gov