A commonly-used antibiotic is now being held responsible for an increase in heart related deaths.
According to research out of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, heart-related deaths among people taking Z-Pak is up 2.5 percent. Though the number may be small, East Texas doctors say the risk isn't worth it.
For many, it's an antibiotic of convenience. With a Z-Pak, you take five doses over five days and hope that sinus infection disappears. But, doctors say people with heart conditions may want to think twice before taking Z-Pak.
"We try to be very careful using that particular antibiotic with heart patients, especially," says Dr. Ryan Mullins at Trinity Clinic Broadway Crossing.
Mullins says azithromycin can affect the electrical components in some peoples' hearts.
"Whenever you have electrical problems with the heart, you don't have a lot of warning. [The patient] may only experience some simple things where their heart races or feels like it's skipping a beat," says Mullins.
However, those side effects could lead to an arrhythmia, heart attack or death.
Pharmacist David Davis from Good's Medicine Chest says there are so many other options on the market, that if you have any type of heart condition, taking a Z-Pak usually isn't worth the risk.
"There are antibiotics out there ranging from amoxicillin to all types of things that are still very good antibiotics even though they've been around for a long time," he says.
The percent of people at risk is small, but that doesn't mean the increase in deaths should be ignored.
"If you have a pre-existing cardiac condition or you're on cardiac medication, it would definitely be something that you would want to talk to your doctor about," Davis says.
If you ask Dr. Mullins, sometimes just a little rest is the best medicine.
"A lot of times, your body can fight the infection just as equally as an antibiotic can, but it's very important to slow it down, get your rest and drink lots of water. Sometimes we actually have to take some time off of work to heal up," says Mullins.
Wednesday, June 19 2013 5:14 PM EDT2013-06-19 21:14:11 GMT
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