It’s the antibiotic death risk your doc won’t tell you about...
TAKE SIX PILLS AND CALL ME FROM THE MORGUE!
There’s a drug being given out more than 150,000 times every single day——and it’s killing people.
It’s called azithromycin, but if you were on the receiving end of the 55.3 million prescriptions given out last year, you probably know it better as the Zithromax inside the “Z-Pak.”
You know the drill: Two pills on the first day, followed by one pill a day for the next four. Six pills over five days, or a treatment that’s done in half the time of most antibiotics.
That’s why doctors like——and patients love——those “Z-Paks.”
Well, now a new study finds a deadly toll for all that convenience. People who take azithromycin have nearly TRIPLE the risk of cardiovascular death of those who don’t get any antibiotics and more than DOUBLE the risk of those who get another antibiotic, amoxicillin.
The study doesn’t spell out why the “D”-Pak is so deadly, but there’s evidence the drug throws the heart’s rhythm right off its tracks——a derailment that can be especially deadly for diabetics and people with a history of heart problems.
The FDA quickly responded to the new numbers, which is a surprise. But it wasn’t with a warning, which is not a surprise. If anything, the agency downplayed the risk by calling it “small” and urged patients to keep right on taking their Death Paks.
But once you see the numbers, you’ll have a hard time swallowing that one——because we’re not talking one in a billion or even one in a million here.
Those would be “small” in my book.
No, in this case the risk is 85 in a million——compared to 32 in a million of those on amoxicillin and 30 in a million among those given no antibiotics at all.
That’s one extra death among every 21,277 azithromycin users compared to people who take amoxicillin, according to the numbers in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Not exactly “struck by lightning” or “win the lottery” odds——and if you already have a high risk of heart disease, that death risk skyrockets to 245 in a million, or a 1 in 4,082 chance of death during your azithromycin treatment.
You’d have to have a screw loose to think that’s “small.”
Heck, if they had found that same “small” risk in a common vitamin or supplement, you can bet the FDA would issue warnings, recalls, and press releases at a furious pace.
But I digress...because the real issue here isn’t just the death toll——it’s the massive overuse of this drug, which docs keep turning to again and again and again not because it’s safe, effective, or even necessary.
It’s none of the above. They choose it because...
Most doctors are either clueless or lazy——or both.
Azithromycin is supposed to be reserved for serious bacterial infections such as bronchitis, bacterial pneumonia, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and the like. There’s even a growing call to limit this drug only to infections among AIDS patients.
But docs clearly haven’t heard that call. Just about anyone who walks in with a fever, sore throat, earache, bellyache, sniffles, or sinus infection walks out with a Z-Pak despite the fact that the drug does nothing for most of those patients.
Almost all of those illnesses are viral, and there’s not an antibiotic in the world that’ll help. All you really need is a little time, a little rest, and maybe some chicken soup.
A few are caused by bacteria——but not many. Up to 98 percent of all sinus infections, for example, are viral——yet docs routinely dole out antibiotics for these common winter bugs.
It’s the same in kids, and not just for sinus infections. Docs give antibiotics for ear infections all the stinkin’ time despite studies showing that 80 percent of all kids get better in just a few days with no meds at all.
Doctors know all this. This is all mainstream science and they read the same journals I do (at least, I hope they do). They know it, but it’s just so much work figuring out which is which.
A bacteria culture can take several days to grow——and if doctors have to send it out to an outside lab (as most do) there’s not even any extra money in it for them.
So they send everyone home with a Z-Pak or some other antibiotic. They’re giving drugs to ALL of their patients to treat the FEW who might actually need them.
It’s madness, because along with that “small” risk of death, antibiotics can literally ruin your stomach——and I’m not just talking about the infamous antibiotic squirts that many people get when they take them.
These drugs lay waste to your entire digestive tract, and when they’re done with you, you might never be the same. Gut imbalances may cause chronic diseases and it’s been suggested they are even associated with mental health problems.
But because these conditions can take years to develop, you might never link them to your antibiotic.
And let’s not forget that antibiotic overuse helps create drug-resistant superbugs——putting you and everyone else at risk for more serious infections down the road.
Of course, there are times when you really do need that antibiotic. If that’s your story, be sure to read the next story to learn the best ways to protect yourself from the worst of the risks.