Z-Packs, which are short for Zithromax, are now under a large amount of scrutiny. Z-Packs are one of the most widely prescribed antibiotics on the market. They are typically prescribed for cases of bronchitis, ear infections and pneumonia.
But now the FDA is warning that they might be bad for the heart. They can cause abnormal changes in the heart’s electrical activity that may lead to a fatal heart rhythm, according to the FDA. People with existing QT interval prolongation, low blood levels of potassium or magnesium, a slower than normal heart rate, or those who use certain drugs to treat abnormal heart rhythms, are especially at risk.
“Health care professionals should consider the risk of fatal heart rhythms with azithromycin when considering treatment options for patients who are already at risk for cardiovascular events,” the FDA said in its March 12th update.
“People need to recognize that the overall risk is low,” Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a Yale University health outcomes specialist who was not involved in the study, told the Associated Press last May. He added more research was needed but patients with heart disease “should probably be steered away” from Zithromax for now.
Last May, a New England Journal of Medicine study found that there were 47 additional heart-related deaths per every one million persons who were treated with 5-days of Z-Pach. This was compared against other popular antibiotics, including amoxicillin.