March 10th, 2014
Azithromycin, Levofloxacin Linked to Increased Risks for Arrhythmia and Mortality Compared with Amoxicillin
Azithromycin and levofloxacin carry higher arrhythmia and mortality risks than amoxicillin, according to an observational study in the Annals of Family Medicine. The FDA issued a cardiac warning on azithromycin in March 2013.
Researchers studied nearly 1.8 million U.S. veterans (mean age, 57) who received outpatient prescriptions for one of the three antibiotics from 1999 to 2012. During treatment, patients receiving azithromycin had roughly a 50% increased risk for death and an 80% increased risk for serious arrhythmia, compared with those on amoxicillin. Risk increases were even greater for levofloxacin.
The researchers conclude: “There are usually multiple antibiotic choices available for older patients, especially those with cardiac comorbidities; physicians may consider prescribing medications other than azithromycin and levofloxacin.”