Antibiotics and heart disease might be related, says research

Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC), in cooperation with the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), discovered that very frequent users of some types of antibiotics might have higher chances of developing heart-related complications.

Specifically, the researchers have found out that users of fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as Cipro or Noroxin have at least 2.4 times higher chances of developing aortic and mitral regurgitation (blood flow going back towards the heart) compared to those who used other common types like amoxicillin. The report adds that the highest risk for the antibiotic is when it is taken again within 30 days of first use.

This apparent risk of using fluoroquinolone antibiotics currently poses a problem for medical professionals, as these types of antibiotics are often more prescribed due to its broader scope of antibacterial capabilities, as well as being readily absorbed by the human body even if taken orally. In other words, it is a very convenient antibiotic to use. The fact that it is even slightly correlated to an increased risk of heart disease, makes it alarming when we consider the number of people using them practically every single day.

The data that was used for the research was derived from more than 120,000 cases of valve rergugitation, all of which are taken from a random sample of about 9 million patients. Fluoroquinolone exposure periods for the cases were analyzed, and was compared with the administration frequency of other antibiotics such as amoxicillin and azithromycin.

The report then concluded, that the simplest solution was just to prescribe the antibiotic less. Or for consumers aware of the study, purchase them less. Even if the fluoroquinolone correlation is yet to be reproduced and confirmed by other independent institutions later on, such safe solution not only reduces the apparent risk mentioned by the study, but also allows us to “reserve” fluoroquinolone antibiotics for more serious cases.

This is especially true with the looming threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, which already caused serious and fatal health risks to those who were unlucky enough to be the first ones afflicted within the last few years.

Featured Image Credit by Myself via Wikimedia Commons

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