FDA Warning: Z-Pak Linked to Potentially Deadly Heart Problem - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

FDA Warning: Z-Pak Linked to Potentially Deadly Heart Problem

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(Story from CBS News)

The Food and Drug administration is out with a warning regarding a popular antibiotic. The FDA says azithromycin, known as the z-pak, can cause a potentially fatal heart problem.

THERE'S NEW CONCERN ABOUT THE COMMON ANTIBIOTIC AZITHROMYCIN. THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION IS WARNING THE DRUG COULD CAUSE AN IRREGULAR HEART RHYTHM IN SOME PATIENTS THAT COULD POTENTIALLY BE DEADLY. AZITHROMYCIN IS MARKETED UNDER THE NAMES Z-PAK AND ZITHROMAX. THERE ARE ALSO GENERIC VERSIONS.

THE WARNING FOLLOWS A STUDY LAST MAY IN THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE THAT FOUND THE DRUG HAD A HIGHER RATE OF CARDIOVASCULAR DEATH COMPARED TO OTHER ANTIBIOTICS.

MORE THAN 40 MILLION AMERICANS RECEIVED A PRESCRIPTION FOR AZITHROMYCIN IN 2011. THE ANTIBIOTIC IS USED TO TREAT MANY KINDS OF INFECTIONS INCLUDING PNEUMONIA AND TONSILLITIS.

THE FDA SAID DOCTORS SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE RISK FACTORS BEFORE PRESCRIBING THE DRUG TO PATIENTS.

(DOC LISTS RISK FACTORS) people with low levels of potassium or magnesium, a slower than normal heart rate, or people who take certain drugs used to treat abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias

BUT THE AGENCY ALSO NOTED THAT OTHER ANTIBIOTICS IN THE SAME CLASS HAVE THE POTENTIAL FOR THE SAME PROBLEM, SO DOCTORS NEED TO CONSIDER ALL THE RISKS. MARLIE HALL FOR CBS NEWS, NEW YORK.

The FDA updated the warnings and precautions section of azithromycin's labels to include the information related to the heart rhythm risk.

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