Tyler , TX (KETK) — "During the cough and cold flu season we may dispense a dozen or more ZPAK’s a day, 50 or 60 a week." Pharmacist Dr. David Davis from Goods Medicine Chest in Tyler explains just how popular the antibiotic “Zithromax” is.
The FDA issued a warning Tuesday about the frequently prescribed drug, also known as a "ZPAK" or the generic name, “Azithromycin.” The FDA warns that this drug, may cause changes to the hearts electrical activity and lead to fatal heart rhythms.
But the FDA says, not everyone is at risk. Dr.John Scroggins from Trinity Clinic Family Medicine in Tyler explains only certain patients should be cautious about this medication, he says, "patients with high blood pressure and known heart disease,” or patients who are currently taking any cardiovascular medications, or any medication should be concerned.
Last may the New England Journal of medicine published a study, it showed an increase in heart-related deaths in those treated with the 5 day treatment of "Zithromax" compaired to a 10 day treatment of amoxicillin or other antibiotics. The drug "Levaquin" or "Levofloxacin" also had a similar outcome in this study, according to the FDA.
Dr. Davis says, if you're unsure about taking the "ZPAK" talk to your doctor or your pharmacist. He says, “We try to cover in detail with them (patients) what risks might be out there for them because of their pre-existing condition, and let them and their doctor and let them at that point make the choice at that point if they want to continue with the antibiotic therapy."
Dr. Scroggins says, he will give prescribing this popular drug to his patients a second thought from now on, he says, “If it’s appropriate it will be prescribed but, it will be prescribed with more thought. And we will think about other alternatives if there is any question that it will put the patient at any risk.”