Zithromax is an antibiotic drug used to treat a range of common infections. It has been available for more than 20 years, and is manufactured by Pfizer. Zithromax is gaining popularity as it allows patients to take fewer doses in order to treat the same types of infections treated by other antibiotics. The powerful nature of Zithromax translates to only a few days of treatment, versus a week or longer with many other antibiotics. In 2011, Zithromax garnered more than $450 million in sales.
Zithromax has found success in treating a number of bacterial infections. However, new evidence is arising that Zithromax can lead to fatal complications. Among the most concerning of these complications is arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. In severe form, arrhythmia can lead to heart failure and death. Patients may be looking to file a Zithromax lawsuit against Pfizer to recover compensation for harm caused by the drug.
Zithromax Clinical Studies
In May 2012, the New England Journal of Medicine conducted a study on the safety of Zithromax versus other types of antibiotics. Included in this study was amoxicillin, another popular antibiotic prescribed to treat common bacterial infections. The study found that patients who took Zithromax had a higher risk of developing fatal heart rhythms.
A study compared several antibiotics, including azithromycin, amoxicillin, levofloxacin, and ciprofloxacin. Also compared was treatment with no antibiotic drug. The study showed that patients treated with azithromycin experienced an increase in the incidence of cardiovascular death and death from any cause. These results were in comparison to ciprofloxacin, amoxicillin, and no antibiotic.
Zithromax Heart Risk
In March 2013, the FDA issued a warning for Zithromax. It was based on information published in the study by the New England Journal of Medicine. The warning stated that Zithromax was found to cause irregular heart rhythms in patients, a condition which could prove fatal for certain patients.
The warning also stated that Zithromax could also alter the heart’s natural electrical activity. This could lead to a potentially fatal condition known as prolonged QT interval. During prolonged QT interval, the heart’s contraction timing becomes irregular. The FDA warning urges doctors to take caution when prescribing Zithromax. Patients who are currently at-risk for heart complications should be prescribed other types of antibiotics for the sake of safety.
Zithromax should not be prescribed to patients who:
- Have low levels of potassium
- Have low levels of magnesium
- Have a heart rate that is slower than normal
- Take certain types of drugs to treat arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rates
- Experience torsades de pointes, a heart rhythm abnormality
Zithromax FDA Action
After issuing the Drug Safety Communication for heart complications cause by Zithromax, the FDA required a label change on the drug’s packaging. The FDA required that the packaging be altered to include information about the risks of prolonged QT interval and torsades de pointes. The FDA also urged patients with Zithromax prescriptions to speak with their doctors regarding their current treatment.
Filing a Zithromax Lawsuit
With new information surfacing on the increased dangers of Zithromax, doctors and patients will be able to more closely examine interactions with the drug. Those who believe that they have experienced heart complications from Zithromax may be eligible to file a Zithromax lawsuit against Pfizer. Additionally, those who have lost a loved one from heart complications or other fatal complications may also be entitled to file a Zithromax lawsuit.
Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA.