Study Links Popular Antibiotic Zithromax To Rare But Deadly Heart Risk

Many people use the antibiotic Zithromax, or azithromycin, to treat bronchitis and other common infections. Some surprising results of a 14-year study might turn some off the antibiotic, as it found the risk of sudden deadly heart problems increased with use of Zithromax.

It’s a more expensive antibiotic than others, notes the Associated Press (via, but many people like it because it works in fewer days. Researchers at Vanderbilt University are now suggesting that due to the results of the study, doctors should prescribe other options for anyone already prone to heart problems.

The researchers analyzed health records and data on millions of prescriptions for several antibiotics given to about 540,000 Tennessee Medicaid patients from 1992 to 2006. Among those who took Zithromax during five days of treatment, there were 29 heart-related deaths. That risk was more than double that of patients on amoxicillin, another antibiotic, or those who took none.

Each group had patients with comparable risks of heart troubles, the researcher said. According to the results, there would be about 47 extra heart-related deaths per 1 million courses of treatment with Zithromax, compared to amoxicillin. People usually take Zithromax for about five days, instead of 10 days of amoxicillin or other antibiotics.

*Thanks for the linkage, Amy!

Antibiotic ‘Zithromax’ linked with rare but deadly heart risk []

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.