We’ve all been prescribed antibiotics at some point and we know they are useful in treating various infections. But like every other drug, they come with a wide range of side-effects, such as nausea, headaches and they can also affect your stomach and liver. But recent research has discovered that one commonly-used antibiotic may actually pose a higher death risk.
The antibiotic in question is clarithromycin, a substance belonging to the macrolide family, which is commonly used for respiratory infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis or sinusitis. The warning comes after 14 years of research performed by Danish scientists, who now claim clarithromycin pills significantly increase the risk of cardiac death.
The study, conducted between 1997 and 2011, involved nearly 5 million antibiotic treatments prescribed to patients aged 40 through 74. 160.297 of them were prescribed clarithromycin, while the rest received different antibiotics, such as penicillin V.
By comparing the 285 cardiac deaths recorded during these treatments, researchers showed that the administration of clarithromycin was associated with a 76% higher risk of cardiac episodes, compared to the use of penicillin V.
However, the patient is at risk only when undergoing treatment, and taking it as prescribed is unlikely to cause any long-lasting side-effects. Patients who already suffer from cardiac disease or have had heart problems in the past should proceed with caution when taking clarithromycin, and only as prescribed by a doctor.
Moreover, the Danish scientists pointed out that this issue requires further investigation, as this was not a randomized trial and therefore it cannot effectively determine a causal relationship between the use of clarithromycin and cardiac deaths. Other heart disease risk factors, such as lifestyle and obesity were also not taken into consideration.
Clarithromycin is available under several brand names, for example Binoclar, Bioclar, Biaxin, Crixan, Clarihexal, Clacid, Claritt, Clacee, Clarac, Clariwin, Claripen, Clarem, Claridar, Fromilid, Infex, Klaricid, Klacid, Klaram, Klabax, Monoclar, Resclar, Truclar, and Vikrol.