Azithromycin Not Linked to Ventricular Arrhythmia, Study Suggests — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
April 18, 2017

Azithromycin Not Linked to Ventricular Arrhythmia, Study Suggests

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH

Azithromycin does not seem to be associated with increased risk for ventricular arrhythmia, according to a case-control study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Prior research has been conflicting regarding the antibiotic's arrhythmogenic effects.

Using data on new antibiotic users from five European countries, researchers matched nearly 13,000 adults who developed ventricular arrhythmia (cases) to 1.2 million adults who did not (controls). Thirty of the cases were current users of azithromycin.

When compared with no antibiotic use, current azithromycin use was associated with twice the risk for ventricular arrhythmia. However, when compared with amoxicillin, azithromycin showed no increase in risk. Accordingly, the authors conclude that the increased risk in the azithromycin-no antibiotic comparison was largely due to confounding by indication — that is, the risk was due to the underlying infection and not the treatment.

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