Zithromax Lawsuits Detail Heart Risks of Z-Pak, Azithromycin
By Andrea Gressman
The FDA gave an announcement on May 17, 2012 that investigations into the side effects of Zithromax are currently underway. This was brought about by a publication in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study linked the popular antibiotic, Zithromax -- also known as Z-Pak, Zmax or azithromycin -- with sudden cardiovascular death.
The Zithromax heart attack study consisted of reviews from researchers from Vanderbilt University’s school of Medicine. They reviewed an estimated 540,000 Medicaid patents aged 30 to 74 in Tennessee from 1992 to 2006 and found that patients who took Zithromax increased their risk for sudden cardiac death compared to patients who took alternative antibiotics like amoxicillin.
Patients more susceptible to Z-Pak side effects include those who have a history of the following:
* Heart failure
* Sustained a previous heart attack
* Have undergone bypass surgery or cardiac stents
Patients with heart disease may develop abnormal heart rhythms, which can lead to death.
FDA Issues Warning Regarding Zithromax Cardiac Side Effects
Zithromax is classified with antibacterial drugs called macrolides, which are linked to cardiovascular issues, including QT interval prolongation. A review was done by the FDA of all macrolides in 2011. Resulting from that investigation, the Z-Pak drug label was updated to include abnormal heart rhythms as a side effect of Zithromax.
The FDA’s review continues as a result of the recent Z-Pak heart attack study. The FDA stated that Zithromax users should not discontinue use without first consulting their doctor. The agency also recommended that healthcare providers be made aware of potential side effects caused by Zithromax, which include QT interval prolongation and arrhythmias when prescribing antibacterial drugs.
Finally, the FDA encouraged both healthcare professionals and patients to report any negative Z-Pak side effects experienced to the agency’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.
Background Information on Zithromax
Zithromax is an antibiotic used in the treatment of bacterial infections, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, sore throats, and earaches. The drug is intended to treat the following conditions:
* Acute bacterial exacerbations of chronic pulmonary disease
* Acute bacterial sinusitis
* Community-acquired pneumonia
* Uncomplicated skin and skin structure infections
* Urethritis and cervicitis
* Genital ulcer disease
Pfizer, Inc. is the manufacturer of Zithromax. Patients are drawn to Z-Pak because of its convenience, meaning patients need only take the medication for five days, unlike most antibiotics, which require a longer period of usage, usually ten days or more.
Last year, 55.3 million prescriptions for azithromycin (Zithromax) were written by doctors; also, the drug took in $464.6 million in revenue. The drug’s popularity resulted in numerous media outlets reporting on the Zithromax heart attack study, including NBC Nightly News and ABC World News. NBC and ABC News agencies had medical editors commentate on the risk of sudden cardiac death in patients suffering from heart problems while taking the drug.
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