Association of Azithromycin Use With Cardiovascular Mortality

Azithromycin is one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics in the US. It has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular death in some observational studies..

..The study included 7 824 681 antibiotic exposures, including 1 736 976 azithromycin exposures (22.2%) and 6 087 705 amoxicillin exposures (77.8%), among 2 929 008 unique individuals (mean [SD] age, 50.7 [12.3] years; 1 810 127 [61.8%] women). Azithromycin was associated with a significantly increased hazard of cardiovascular death (hazard ratio [HR], 1.82; 95% CI, 1.23-2.67) but not sudden cardiac death (HR, 1.59; 95% CI, 0.90-2.81) within 5 days of exposure.

No increases in risk were found 6 to 10 days after exposure. Similar results were observed in patients within the top decile of cardiovascular risk (HR, 1.71; 95% CI, 1.06-2.76). Azithromycin was also associated with an increased risk of noncardiovascular death (HR, 2.17; 95% CI, 1.44-3.26) and all-cause mortality (HR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.51-2.63) within 5 days of exposure.

Conclusions and Relevance These findings suggest that outpatient azithromycin use was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular death and noncardiovascular death. Causality cannot be established, particularly for noncardiovascular death, owing to the likelihood of residual confounding.

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