(HealthDay News) – Current use of the antibiotic azithromycin is not associated with an increased risk of death from cardiovascular causes in a general population of young and middle-aged adults, according to a study published in the May 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Henrik Svanström, from the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen. and colleagues analyzed linked registry data on filled prescriptions, causes of death, and patient characteristics (1997–2010) for 1,102,050 episodes of azithromycin use compared to no use of antibiotic agents (matched in a 1:1 ratio according to propensity score). Comparisons were also made between 1,102,419 episodes of azithromycin use with 7,364,292 episodes of penicillin V use (with adjustment for propensity score).
The researchers found that the risk of death from cardiovascular causes was significantly increased with current use of azithromycin (defined as a five-day treatment episode), compared with no use of antibiotics (rate ratio, 2.85). There were 17 deaths from cardiovascular causes during current azithromycin use (crude rate, 1.1 per 1,000 person-years) and 146 during current penicillin V use (crude rate, 1.5 per 1,000 person-years). Current azithromycin use was not associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular death when adjusting for propensity scores, compared with penicillin V (rate ratio, 0.93; P=0.79). For current use of azithromycin the adjusted absolute risk difference was −1 cardiovascular death (95% confidence interval, -9–11) per one million treatment episodes, compared with penicillin V.
“Azithromycin use was not associated with an increased risk of death from cardiovascular causes in a general population of young and middle-aged adults,” the authors write.