Zithromax, also commonly referred to as Z-pak or Zmax, is a popular antibiotic that is prescribed for various bacterial infections. After being introduced about 20 years ago, its popularity grew quickly as the strength of Zithromax against infection allowed for a 5-day course of treatment as opposed to a typical 9-day dose. Given modern society’s lack of tolerance for the negative impact being sick can have on work productivity, Zithromax became the quick fix for many common bacterial infections. And why wouldn’t it? With its apparent effectiveness and short course of treatment it’s no wonder that patients began specifically requesting a Z-pak from their doctors. But in recent years professionals in the medical field have noticed that the effectiveness of Z-pak has decreased as an increasing number of strains of bacterial infection have built up a resistance to the antibiotic. The problem, researchers say, is that Zithromax has been over-prescribed and often used to treat conditions that are not serious enough to warrant the risk of possible adverse side-effects that Zithromax can cause.
According to a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, only 10% of sore throats are caused by strep bacteria and require treatment with antibiotics. However, researchers found that antibiotics are being prescribed in 60% of all patients who have sore throat symptoms. Furthermore, Zithromax is the prescribed antibiotic in 15% of those cases. Consequently, many patients have been unnecessarily exposed to the significant health risks associated with Zithromax side-effects by their treating physician.
There are many documented side effects associated with Zithromax use but some of the more severe include cardiac arrhythmia problems, Steven Johns Syndrome, pancreatitis and liver failure. Cardiac arrhythmia issues associated with Zithromax can lead to an abnormal heart beat, including a dangerous condition known as QT prolongation (slower heart rate). In May 2012, the FDA issued a public statement warning that the use of Zithromax can lead to potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmia problems. Steven Johns Syndrome, or SJS, is a rare but potentially deadly condition that affects the upper and lower layers of dermis (skin) and membranes. SJS can cause permanent scarring, eye damage and death in some cases. Zithromax has been known to cause an allergic skin rash that is a precursor to SJS. In June 2012 the Food and Drug Administration issued a formal warning to Pfizer, producer of “Zmax”, for failing to properly warn patients of the potential risk of developing SJS after using Zmax.
Although the FDA is well aware of the potentially serious side effects associated with Zithromax, it still remains on the shelf at pharmacies. Thus, the FDA seems to believe that the potential risk for side effects is outweighed by the benefit derived from Zithromax in patients needing to clear up a bacterial infection. While the FDA cannot definitively proclaim any drug completely safe, it has deemed Zithromax, “not unsafe”. This, however, assumes that the drug is being used as recommended. This is not always the case as research suggests that Zithromax is being over-prescribed by physicians who are ignoring FDA guidelines.
If you or someone you know suffered from cardiac arrhythmia problems or Steven Johns Syndrome following the use of Zithromax, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Please call the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free consultation and case evaluation. (833) 606-DRUG .