Common Antibiotic Linked To Heart Problems

A link has been found between one of the most commonly prescribed classes of antibiotics and two types of heart problems. A new study has discovered that fluoroquinolones are associated with an increased risk of developing both aortic and mitral regurgitation. Researchers at the University of British Columbia have published the results of the study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Both aortic and mitral regurgitation can cause blood to leak back into the heart. The conditions can cause serious issues if left untreated, including atrial fibrillation and heart failure. According to the results of the study, fluoroquinolone antibiotics users face a 2.4 times higher risk of developing both aortic and mitral regurgitation in comparison to patients who took a different class of antibiotic.

Fluoroquinolones are prescribed under an assortment of different names, including Ciprofloxacin and Cipro. Some physicians prefer them due to their broad spectrum of antibacterial activity and high oral absorption. However, this is not the first study that has linked fluoroquinolone antibiotics to heart problems.  

Lead study author Mahyar Etminan, associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences in the faculty of medicine at UBC, said, “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.”

The team of researchers, working in unison with the Provincial Health Services Authority’s (PHSA) Therapeutic Evaluation Unit, analyzed data collected by the FDA, as well as a private health insurance claims database. From these sources, they obtained patient demographics, drug names, doses prescribed, and duration of treatment of more than nine million randomly selected patients. They identified 12,505 patients diagnosed with valvular regurgitation and compared them to a control group of 125,020 other patients.