health

FDA: Common antibiotic can have deadly side effect

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 25, 2013

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Physicians should weigh patients’ risk of developing potentially fatal heart arrhythmias when considering prescribing the popular antibiotic azithromycin, the Food and Drug Administration said.

Populations at higher risk of developing the problem include patients with known prolongation of the QT interval and those with a history of the rare heart rhythm abnormality torsades de pointes, the FDA said. Elderly patients and people with cardiac disease might be at higher risk of developing a fatal arrhythmia from the drug.

Physicians should keep in mind that alternative antibacterial medications in the macrolide or fluoroquinolone drug classes also have the potential for QT prolongation or other significant side effects that should be considered, the FDA said (link).

The FDA issued the warning for health professionals on March 12 after it reviewed two studies that assessed the potential for azithromycin to cause abnormal changes in the electrical activity of the heart.

Azithromycin drug labels have been updated to strengthen the warnings and precautions section with information related to the risk of QT interval prolongation and torsades de pointes. Physicians should report adverse events involving azithromycin to the FDA MedWatch program using the online site (link).

Back to top


ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISE HERE


Featured
Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story


Read story

Goodbye

American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story


Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story


Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story


Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story


Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story


Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story


Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story