According to a research made by the United States, it has been found that the most commonly used antibiotic, azithromycin holds potential to cause heart disease. As per a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it has been proved that azithromycin can result in cardiovascular death. The study has also proved that azithromycin poses about a two-and-a-half time higher risk of cardiovascular death as compared to any other antibiotics or no antibiotic.
Doctors have discovered that heart patients on statins are never prescribed azithromycin. This is due to the high muscle damage risk. The researchers studied about 3,48,000 patients on azithromycin. They concluded 47 more deaths per million, compared to those on the amoxicillin, another antibiotic. The situation was known to be worse for heart patients as the rate of cardiovascular deaths rose with 245 more per million.
Drug expert Dr CM Gulati said that over 254 cases in one million individuals is not a serious threat. He also added that there are many individuals who are allergic to penicillin and for whom azithromycin is still helpful.
Dr HB Chandalia of Jaslok Hospital said that Azithromycin is extensively prescribed for children. He said that there is no risk among children. However, people with pre-existing heart disease should avoid the medication as it can result in many problems. "Heart patients should definitely avoid this antibiotic," says Endocrinologist.
Azithromycin is mainly used to treat respiratory infections. It is also widely used in India to treat acute bacterial bronchitis and skin infections. Those suffering from frequent chest infections are often prescribed this medication for relief. It is yet to be researched how bad the medication will affect children and those with chest infections or other diseases it promises to treat.