These antibiotics are called fluoroquinolones, and a study published this month finds people taking them had an increased risk of developing aortic and mitral regurgitation — a condition that could lead to heart failure. “This adds to the existing list of serious adverse events with fluoroquinolones, underscoring the fact that these drugs shouldn’t be prescribed for uncomplicated community acquired infections and should only be given when absolutely necessary,” researcher said.
2.5 times greater risk of heart valve condition
According to Etminan, this was the first time that recent exposure to fluoroquinolones was associated with an almost 2.5 times increased risk of causing blood to flow back into the heart. The risk was highest within 30 days of use. Even those who had stopped taking the medications within the last 60 days were still 1.5 times more likely to develop heart valve trouble when compared to the amoxicillin users. According to the National Institute of Medicine, fluoroquinolone antibiotics include:
- levofloxacin (Levaquin)
- ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
- moxifloxacin (Avelox)
- ofloxacin (Floxin)
- gemifloxacin (Factive)
- delafloxacin (Baxdela)
Dr. Jeffrey A. Jahre, Senior Vice President of Medical and Academic Affairs and infectious disease specialist at St. Luke’s University Health Network agreed that, as with all drugs, both the benefits and hazards regarding the use of these drugs in any patient must be taken into account when they are prescribed. He emphasized that “for most indications, there are multiple other choices that can be considered.”
Recent research finds that a commonly used class of antibiotics can cause a potentially serious heart valve condition. These drugs, called fluoroquinolones, have also been found to cause other significant health issues, such as nerve damage. Experts emphasized considering the benefits and hazards of this medication before prescribing, as there are many options available.