Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Common antibiotic linked to heart problems in patients with lung conditions

Date:
March 21, 2013
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
The antibiotic clarithromycin -- widely used for treating lower respiratory tract infections like pneumonia and acute exacerbations (sudden worsening) of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease -- may be associated with an increased risk of heart problems, finds a new study.

The antibiotic clarithromycin -- widely used for treating lower respiratory tract infections like pneumonia and acute exacerbations (sudden worsening) of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) -- may be associated with an increased risk of heart problems, finds a new study.

Related Articles


The authors say their findings require confirmation, but add to a growing body of evidence suggesting a possible link between long term cardiovascular risks and certain antibiotics, known as macrolides.

Clarithromycin is often used to treat a sudden increase in symptoms for the progressive lung disease COPD -- and in community acquired pneumonia -- two of the most frequent causes of hospital admission in the UK. Previous studies have suggested that cardiovascular events, such as heart failure, heart rhythm problems, or sudden cardiac death, may be increased during treatment with clarithromycin, but the long term effects are still unclear.

So a team of UK researchers, led by the University of Dundee, set out to examine this association in more detail. They analysed data on 1,343 patients admitted to hospital with acute exacerbations of COPD and 1,631 patients admitted with community acquired pneumonia.

They classified all patients who received at least one dose of clarithromycin during their hospital visit as macrolide users and compared them with patients who did not receive any macrolide antibiotics during their visit. Over one year, 268 COPD patients and 171 pneumonia patients were admitted to hospital as a result of a cardiovascular event.

In all, after allowing for other factors, 73/281 (26%) of the patients prescribed clarithromycin during acute exacerbations of COPD had at least one cardiovascular event over the next year compared to 195/1062 (18%) of the patients who didn't get this antibiotic (Hazard Ratio 1.50 -- where Hazard Ratio is a measure of the number of events per unit time divided by the number of people at risk of the event).

In the same group the Hazard Ratio for acute coronary syndrome (severe angina attacks or heart attacks) was 1.67. Among patients given clarithromycin for community acquired pneumonia, 123/980 (12%) had at least one cardiovascular event compared to 48/651 (7%) not on the drug (Hazard Ratio 1.68). There was no increased risk of acute coronary syndrome.

For COPD, a significant association was also found between clarithromycin use and cardiovascular mortality, but not all cause mortality. In contrast, for community acquired pneumonia, no association was found between clarithromycin use and cardiovascular mortality or all cause mortality.

Longer durations of clarithromycin use were associated with more cardiovascular events. However, use of other types of antibiotics, such as ί-lactams, showed no association, suggesting an effect specific to clarithromycin, say the authors.

For COPD, a significant association was also found between clarithromycin use and cardiovascular mortality, but not all cause mortality. In contrast, for community acquired pneumonia, no association was found between clarithromycin use and cardiovascular mortality or all cause mortality.

Longer durations of clarithromycin use were associated with more cardiovascular events. However, use of other types of antibiotics, such as ί-lactams, showed no association, suggesting an effect specific to clarithromycin, say the authors.

Overall, the results suggest that there will be an additional cardiovascular event for every eight patients given clarithromycin compared to patients not given the drug (or one in 11 for pneumonia).

The data also suggest that the increased risk may persist beyond the time when clarithromycin is stopped. This could be due to clarithromycin's effect on the body's inflammatory process in patients with chronic lung conditions.

The authors conclude that the findings "need to be validated in other datasets before recommendations to change practice can be made."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Schembri, P. A. Williamson, P. M. Short, A. Singanayagam, A. Akram, J. Taylor, A. Singanayagam, A. T. Hill, J. D. Chalmers. Cardiovascular events after clarithromycin use in lower respiratory tract infections: analysis of two prospective cohort studies. BMJ, 2013; 346 (mar20 2): f1235 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.f1235

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Common antibiotic linked to heart problems in patients with lung conditions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130321205645.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2013, March 21). Common antibiotic linked to heart problems in patients with lung conditions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130321205645.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Common antibiotic linked to heart problems in patients with lung conditions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130321205645.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins