Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Some of the most common antibiotics may cause heart problems, a new study says.
People who use Ciprofloxacin, marketed as Cipro, and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics have a 2.4 times higher risk of developing aortic and mitral regurgitation due to blood backflow into the heart, according to new research published in the September edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. This risk is compared to patients who take another antibiotic known as amoxicillin.
If untreated, severe blood backflow can lead to heart failure, according to the Mayo Clinic.
"You can send patients home with a once-a-day pill," Mahyar Etminan, a researcher at the University of British Columbia and study lead author, said in a press release. "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."
For the study, the researchers included 12,505 patients with valvular regurgitation and 125,020 control patients from a random sample of more than nine million people.
They looked at active fluoroquinolone users who've taken the drug in the last 30 days. They also examined those with recent exposure between 31 and 60 days and past exposure between 61 and 365 days.
The researchers compared patients who used fluoroquinolone with those who took amoxicillin and azithromycin.
The findings revealed aortic and mitral regurgitation risk was highest among current users, then recent users. Past users, however, had no elevated risk.
Etiminan hopes this study will spur further research to confirm these findings, to bring more awareness to physicians about the potential dangers of antibiotics.
"One of the key objectives of the Therapeutic Evaluation Unit is to evaluate different drugs and health technologies to determine whether they enhance the quality of care delivered by our programs or improve patient outcomes," said Bruce Carleton, a researcher at BC Children's Hospital and study author.