Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Zithromax May Lead to Fatal Arrhythmias in Susceptible Individuals


  It is been four and a half years since Daniel, 12 1/2, walked into the bathroom one happy morning, and then, completely without warning, collapsed.  He was suddenly pulseless and breathless and I started CPR.  He died that day, and I am still replaying the event in my head trying to detect whether there were any warnings that day, or in the days before.  Daniel had a clean autopsy in which no clear cause for his abrupt cardiac arrest was found. Coronary arteries were clean. His heart was not enlarged and yet somehow, a sudden and abrupt heart rhythm disturbance is thought to have been the cause as to why his life tragically ended on the bathroom floor on that truly Black Friday.
               I started with this, because all of you need to know that sudden cardiac death is a possibility for anyone with a beating heart, and that we all need to be CPR certified, and ready to do all that we can to keep our loved ones here.
              A piece of shocking news came out today.  It appears that Azithromycin, (also known as Zithromax) which is an effective antibiotic, is now felt to increase the potential for sudden cardiac death in those who have either a known or unknown proclivity for such.  According to the FDA and Medscape, this macrolide antibiotic can cause abnormal lengthening in the QT interval thus producing potentially fatal heart rhythm disturbances.   Daniel didn't have any Zithromax , prior to his collapse and death, but our family has used Zithromax without incident several times since its development, and it has been an effective antibiotic for us.  Perhaps this should be taken off the table for our family, due to our family and personal health  histories  now.

Zithromax tablets

        With all the antibiotic resistant microorganisms surfacing now, we should not take Zithromax off the table for most people. It still saves lives. We should however, use extreme caution for anyone with a history of arrhythmia, like atrial fibrillation, for example.

Additional authoritative information:

The official word about Zithromax from the FDA

Information for Patients


  1. I came down with Bronchitis and was prescribed Zithromax. I was prone to ear infections when I was younger and was always prescribed this because I was allergic to penicillin. I had no side effects then, but now I have bad stomach cramps and diarrhea.

    1. Jennifer,
      I am glad that you weren't among the few people who has QT alterations and arrhythmia following use of Zithromax. It does an effective job for many, but should be given with caution to those in families of those with history of heart rhythm disturbance or sudden death for unclear causes.
      Stomach cramps and diarrhea are common for many people who take antibiotics because the antibiotic does an effective job of killing off the positive bacteria that we need inside our gastrointestinal tracts in order to digest our food. Your pharmacist can show you where they sell something called lactobacillus acidophilus or lactobacillus bifidus which you can take in tablet form whenever you are taking an antibiotic and for a few days afterward. These tablets can reseed your intestinal tract and prevent the positive bacteria from being killed off by the antibiotic, thus preventing most of the cramping and diarrhea. Remember this for next time, and ask your doctor if he likes any particular brand or product. Best wishes and thanks for posting, Jennifer.


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