To Your Health
September, 2019 (Vol. 13, Issue 09)
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Some Antibiotics May Hurt Your Heart

By Editorial Staff

Millions of people take antibiotics as prescribed by their medical doctors without knowing the potential risks. What risks? Well, for example, one of the most commonly prescribed classes of antibiotics (fluoroquinolones; cirpofloxacin or Cipro is an example) increases the risk of aortic and mitral regurgitation – in layperson's terms, blood flowing backward into the heart.

As you might imagine, that's not a good thing, since the heart's primary job is to pump blood away (out to the rest of the body).

A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology supports this disturbing connection, finding that users of this type of antibiotics have a significantly higher risk of experiencing aortic or mitrial regurgitation compared to amoxicillin users (another type of antibiotic with its own laundry list of potential side effects). Risk appeared greatest during the first 30 days of fluoroquinolone use. (This also isn't the first time this class of antibiotics have come under fire.)

There are certainly times when antibiotics may be the best option for an infection or other acute condition. There are also certainly times that nondrug options may be just as effective – or the antibiotic may not be needed at all. (Some medical doctors have been known to prescribe antibiotics for viral infections, which doesn't do any good beyond making the patient / their parents feel as if they're "doing something.")

The bottom line: Whenever you're recommended a prescription for an antibiotic or any other medication, ask a few questions first: How effective is this drug? Are there safer alternatives? Are there nondrug alternatives? What are the potential side effects? You'll be glad you did.