New Study: Popular Antibiotic Increases Risk of DeathMay 21, 2012
That’s on top of the report that antibiotics in general increase the risk of breast cancer.
Azithromycin (marketed as Zithromax) is most often prescribed to treat bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia, middle ear infections, and even certain sexually transmitted diseases. It can produce skin rashes, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing or swallowing, and rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeats. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
A study published last Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that the antibiotic may boost the risk of death by 250 percent. The analysis found there were 47 more deaths per million in those taking azithromycin compared to those on amoxicillin (an antibiotic safer on the heart).
Azithromycin belongs to a class of antibiotics called macrolides. A 2008 study published in the British Medical Journal found that when macrolides are combined with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, the result can be a debilitating muscle weakness called statin-induced myopathy.
This is not the only instance where antibiotics carry great risk. A 2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the use of any kind of antibiotics is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. The more antibiotics the women in the study used, the higher their risk of breast cancer.
Antibiotics are indiscriminate bactericides: they kill the good bacteria that support digestive health and other systems along with the bad bacteria present in an infection. This is why it is important to take a probiotic sometime after using an antibiotic. Probiotics deliver good bacteria directly to the digestive tract without increasing infectious bacteria; they can also reduce the risk of diarrhea, a common side effect of antibiotics.
Like much of allopathic medicine, antibiotics work in opposition to the body’s natural immune system rather than in concert with it, creating new health problems while attempting to treat the original one. This is ironic since the first antibiotics were found in nature, but they were then modified in order to make them new-to-nature and thus patentable.
As we have pointed out in other articles, today’s antibiotics also create resistant supergerms, some of which threaten uncontrollable pandemic. Drug companies, meanwhile, are reluctant to create new antibiotics because of their potential toxicity, the resulting difficulty in getting them approved, and the fact that they are not taken on an ongoing basis like statins and acid blockers and other real money-makers. In this environment, natural antibiotics such as silver and manuka honey, which do not create resistance, are of critical importance, but not being patentable, are spurned both by drug companies and the FDA.