FDA warns azithromycin “Z-pack” antibiotics could lead to deadly heart rhythms for some

FDA Warns Azithromycin, a commonly-prescribed antibiotic, may trigger a potentially deadly irregular heart rhythm for some patients

The antibiotic that’s sold as Zithromax, Zmax or sometimes referred to as a “Z-Pack” is prescribed to treat bacterial infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, or ear infections. Zithromax or azithromycin seems to increase chances for sudden deadly heart problems in certain patients, according to a study spanning 14 years.

The FDA is warning the public that the pills can cause abnormal changes in the heart’s electrical activity that may lead to a fatal heart rhythm. Not everyone is at risk, however patients with known risk factors such as existing QT interval prolongation, low blood levels of potassium or magnesium, a slower than normal heart rate, or those who use  certain drugs to treat abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias face the greatest risk.

Zithromax is more expensive than other antibiotics, but it’s popular because it often can be taken for fewer days.

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