You may think that the worst problem associated with taking
antibiotics is that they kill off friendly bacteria in the
intestines. Wrong! Although overusing antibiotics can lead to problems such as lowered immunity, digestive complaints, and a yeast overgrowth, there are much more serious consequences.
One of the most popular antibiotics being used today could kill you!
I?ve talked about drug, nutrient, herb, and food interactions for
years in Women?s Health Letter, so this concept is not new to my readers.
But a very recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine about an antibiotic once thought safe brings new meaning to the word "ALERT!"
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If you?re taking the specific drugs I?ll list for you, don?t ever
combine them with erythromycin. The results could be deadly!
Please, read on. And pass along this information to everyone you know who is taking medications. It could save their lives.
Erythromycin has been used for the past 50 years and has always been
considered to be safe. But Wayne A. Ray, professor of preventive
medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (Nashville, TN)
found that when you combine this antibiotic with certain drugs or food the antibiotic stays in your body longer. The result is a five times greater risk for cardiac death.
Here?s what?s happening in your body: Erythromycin should stay in your blood stream for a fixed period of time and then break down. That?s why you take it several times a day. But certain drugs slow down this breakdown making the antibiotic much stronger.
What happens next is the potential killer. High amounts of erythromycin cause salt to be trapped in resting heart-muscle cells. This lengthens the time until the next heartbeat. Sometimes it actually triggers a
deadly abnormal rhythm, and that?s that. Please, don?t risk death over
an antibiotic when you have an alternative.
If you?re not taking medications, erythromycin has a very low risk of
causing sudden death. But if you?re taking any of the following drugs, ask your doctor for a different antibiotic like Amoxicillin, which was found to be safe when taken with the medications that were studied.
Avoid erythromycin if you?re taking any of the following:
Blood pressure meds: verapamil (Verelan, Isoptin) or diltiazem
Antibiotic: clarithromycin (Biaxin)
Antifungals: ketoconazole (Nizoral) and itractonazole (Sporanox)
AIDS drugs that are protease inhibitors
Grapefruit juice (it also raises blood levels of the antibiotic)
The bottom line here is that if you?re taking any medications, check with your pharmacist before adding any new prescription. The safest medication when taken alone could be harmful when taken with others.
Stay up to date with timely cutting-edge articles on getting and staying well by subscribing to Women?s Health Letter./p>
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
New England Journal of Medicine, September 9, 2004/p>