For the first time, a new study has found an association between two kinds of heart issues and commonly prescribed antibiotics. The study was conducted by a team from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in partnership with the Provincial Health Services Authority's (PHSA) Therapeutic Evaluation Unit.
The study's findings indicate the risk of developing aortic and mitral regurgitation - conditions that cause blood to backflow into the heart - is far greater for those taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics, like Ciprofloxacin or Cipro, than for patients who use amoxicillin, which is a different kind of antibiotic. Chances of developing the condition are particularly high within 30 days of taking these drugs.
The team examined data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's adverse reporting system, as well as an American private insurance health claims database, for their investigation. The team made note of 2,505 cases of valvular regurgitation with 125,020 case-control subjects in a random sample that included approximately nine million patients. They also identified fluoroquinolone exposure either as an active prescription or it has been taken 30 days before developing the condition. The results revealed the risk of aortic and mitral regurgitation was extremely high for those actively taking fluoroquinolone.
Previous research has also found a link between the same class of antibiotics and various other heart issues. Many doctors prefer fluoroquinolones due to their high oral absorption and broad spectrum of antibacterial activity. It is also extremely effective. "You can send patients home with a once-a-day pill," study author Mahyar Etminan, an associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences in the faculty of medicine at UBC, told a news portal. Adding, "This class of antibiotics is very convenient, but for the majority of cases, especially community-related infections, they're not really needed. The inappropriate prescribing may cause both antibiotic resistance as well as serious heart problems."
Researchers hope their findings bring public awareness to the cardiac issues these kinds of drugs could potentially cause. "One of the key objectives of the Therapeutic Evaluation Unit is to evaluate different drugs and health technologies to determine whether they enhance the quality of care delivered by our programs or improve patient outcomes," Dr Bruce Carleton, director of the unit and research investigator at BC Children's Hospital, told a news portal. Adding, "This study highlights the need to be thoughtful when prescribing antibiotics, which can sometimes cause harm. As a result of this work, we will continue working with the BC Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee to ensure the appropriate prescribing of this class of antibiotics to patients across British Columbia, and reduce inappropriate prescribing."
The study's findings were originally published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
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