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Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. But along with the season’s falling temperatures comes an increased risk for upper respiratory infections.
A reminder I was given with a vengeance a couple of weeks ago.
So, like most people, I gave the coughing, sneezing, fever, and misery a day or two before heading into the doctor’s office for a prescription of antibiotics.
What I didn’t realize is that if I hadn’t been very lucky, I could have gotten that antibiotic with a side of heart problems since one class of antibiotics has now been linked to a significant risk for developing both aortic and mitral regurgitation.
The prescription that more than doubles your risk
The study proving this link was recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
For the study, researchers from the University of British Columbia analyzed data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s adverse reporting system. That’s the system the FDA uses to keep track of all of the dangerous issues caused by prescription drugs. And, as you can imagine, it’s extensive.
They also combed through a massive private insurance health claims database that captures demographics, drug identification, the dose prescribed and the treatment duration for prescriptions.
Overall, they found over 12,500 cases of aortic and mitral valvular regurgitation — when blood flows backward in the heart. And, they compared the risk of developing these two dangerous heart conditions after using three different types of antibiotics — fluoroquinolone (these are your drugs like Cipro and Ciprofloxacin), amoxicillin and azithromycin.
And, their findings will make you rethink filling any prescriptions in that first category…
That’s because the team of scientists found that current users of those fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as Ciprofloxacin or Cipro, are 2.4 times more likely to develop either aortic or mitral regurgitation, compared to patients who take amoxicillin.
Over time this puts more and more strain on your heart and can land you on the operating table.
Taking any type of fluoroquinolone antibiotic puts your heart in serious danger, but your greatest risk is within 30 days of taking the drug.
And, this isn’t the only time these antibiotics have been called to the carpet when it comes to your heart.
Just a year ago, it was found that taking the same class of antibiotics puts you at risk for deadly heart vessel tears known as aortic aneurysms.
“You can send patients home with a once-a-day pill,” said Mahyar Etminan, lead author and associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences in the faculty of medicine at UBC. “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.”
When are fluoroquinolones used
Because of the dangers they present, it’s important to know when you’re likely to be prescribed a fluoroquinolone.
These antibiotics are used for treating infections including:
- Respiratory tract
- Urinary tract
- Abdominal or GI tract
So, if you see your doctor for one of these types of infections, there’s a good chance you could walk away with a prescription for Cipro or Ciprofloxacin that could put your heart at risk. If this happens, be sure to talk to your doctor about the dangers, ask if there’s another type of antibiotic that would work and still keep you safe, and know your rights to receive treatment that does no harm.
Your best bet is to work year-long to strengthen your immune system. This time of year, with cold and flu viruses everywhere you turn, pneumonia or upper respiratory infection risks increase. Here a few ways to ready your natural defenses to fight them off:
- Your best defense against pneumonia this cold and flu season
- Vitamin C helps people survive sepsis and more
- The world’s most powerful anti-viral super-vitamin
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!
- Commonly used antibiotics may lead to heart problems — University of British Columbia
- FDA warns about increased risk of ruptures or tears in the aorta blood vessel with fluoroquinolone antibiotics in certain patients — U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- Certain antibiotics tied to deadly heart vessel tears: FDA — MedicalXpress
- Treatment of respiratory tract infections with ciprofloxacin — Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
- Cipro (ciprofloxacin) — Medical News Today