The FDA has notified healthcare professionals that it is aware of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine yesterday, that reports a small increase in cardiovascular deaths, and in the risk of death from any cause, in persons treated with a 5-day course of azithromycin (Zithromax), as compared to individuals treated with amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin, or no drug at all.
Azithromycin belongs to a class of antibacterial drugs called macrolides. Macrolides have been associated with cardiovascular effects; specifically, prolongation of the QT interval. The FDA is updating risk information in the drug labels for additional macrolide antibacterial drugs.
The FDA has announced that it is reviewing the results from this study, and will communicate any recent information on azithromycin and this study, or the potential risk of QT interval prolongation after the agency has completed its review.
It is obviously recommended that anyone taking azithromycin should not stop taking the medicine without consulting their healthcare professional.