Does Use of Azithromycin Increase Risk of Ventricular Arrhythmia?

HealthDay News — Azithromycin doesn’t appear to increase the risk of ventricular arrhythmia, according to a study published in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Gianluca Trifiro, MD, PhD, from the University of Messina in Italy, and colleagues analyzed data from 14,040,688 new antibiotic users. The patients were located in Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

The researchers found that 0.1% developed ventricular arrhythmia. Only 30 of those patients were new users of azithromycin. Individuals who took azithromycin weren’t any more likely to develop ventricular arrhythmia than those who took amoxicillin. However, those taking azithromycin were at higher risk than those who didn’t take antibiotics.

“This finding suggests that the risk of ventricular arrhythmia is more likely to be due to a person’s poor health and caused by their infection, rather than to azithromycin itself,” Trifiro said in a journal news release.

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Trifiro G, de Rodder M, Sultana J, et al. Use of azithromycin and risk of ventricular arrhythmia. CMAJ. 2017;189:E560-E568. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.160355