FDA Warning: Zithromax Can Cause Fatal Arrhythmia

FDA Warning Zithromax Can Cause Fatal ArrhythmiaA popular antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections can cause abnormal — and possibly fatal — heart rhythms in some patients, according to a new warning from the Food and Drug Administration. The drug, azithromycin, sells under the name Zithromax or Zmax and is commonly sold in what’s called a Z-Pak.

‘Higher risk of death’

Researchers at Vanderbilt University looked at the records of thousands of Tennessee Medicaid patients over a period of 14 years. They found a 2.5 times higher risk of death from heart disease in the first five days of using a Z-Pak when compared to another common antibiotic or no antibiotics at all. The drug may cause changes in the electrical activity of the heart, according to the FDA.

People with underlying heart problems seem to be especially vulnerable to developing this condition, said Wayne Ray, professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt and the study’s lead researcher. The FDA said patients who have low blood levels of potassium or magnesium are at a higher risk. Patients who have a slower than normal heart rate or are already taking drugs to treat arrhythmias should also be cautious.


‘Underlying health issues’

So should people with heart problems stop taking the drug? Not necessarily. Ray said it’s important to ask your doctor the follow questions: How serious is the infection? If I use a Z-Pak could it aggravate any underlying health issues? Are there any other antibiotics that could work just as well?

Ray said doctors often prescribe Z-Paks because the drug only needs to be taken for five days, versus the 10-day periods that are typical with other antibiotics. Drug labels for azithromycin have been updated to include warnings about this risk, the FDA said.

Do you think this FDA warning will affect the sales of Z-Pak? Feel free to share your insights regarding this topic!

Source: CNN

Image: NY Daily News

Flu Shot Prevents Heart Attack And Stroke

Flu Shot Prevents Heart Attack And StrokeIf you’re tempted to skip your flu shot, consider this: Getting vaccinated cuts risk for a heart attack or stroke by up to 50 percent, according to two studies presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.

‘Flu vaccine is a heart vaccine’

Scientists from TIMU Study Group and Network for Innovation in Clinical Research analyzed published clinical trials involving a total of 3,227 patients, half of whom had been diagnosed with heart disease. Participants, whose average age was 60, were randomly assigned to either receive flu vaccine or a placebo shot, then their health was tracked for 12 months.

Those who got the flu shot were 50 percent less likely to suffer major cardiac events (such as heart attacks or strokes) and 40 percent less likely to die of cardiac causes. Similar trends were found in patients with and without previous heart disease. The findings suggest “that flu vaccine is a heart vaccine,” lead study author Jacob Udell told Fox News.


‘Grim statistic’

A number of studies have shown a link between heart attacks and a prior respiratory infection. A 2010 study of about 78,000 patients age 40 or older found that those who had gotten a flu shot in the previous year were 20 percent less likely to suffer a first heart attack, even when such cardiovascular risks as smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes were taken in account.

Scarier still, researchers report that up to 91,000 Americans a year die from heart attacks and strokes triggered by flu. This grim statistic prompted the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology to issue guidelines recommending vaccination for patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). The CDC advises flu shots for everyone over six months of age, but cautions that certain people should check with a medical provider before being immunized.

Do you often skip your flu shots? Are you convinced that it can prevent heart attacks?

Source: Yahoo Health

Image: Toronto Sun