Study Says Antibiotics Could Raise Risk of Kidney Stones

Some common antibiotics can cause fatal heart damage, FDA warns

The United States Food and Drug Administration issued a warning Thursday stating some common antibiotics can cause cause dangerous or fatal bleeding.

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The agency’s recent review of four published observational studies found fluoroquinolone antibiotics, commonly sold as Cipro, Factive, Levaquin, Avelox or Floxin, “can increase the occurrence of rare but serious events of ruptures or tears in the main artery of the body, called the aorta” when given by mouth or through an injection.

These ruptures (or aortic dissections) are considered very serious conditions. When the inner layer of the large blood vessel tears, “blood surges through the tear, causing the inner and middle layers of the aorta to separate,” according to the Mayo Clinic. If the channel ruptures through the outside aortic wall, the tears are often fatal.

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The FDA urges fluoroquinolones, antibiotics typically used to treat or prevent certain bacterial infections, should not be used in patients at increased risk of aortic dissection, such as people with a history of aneurysms or blockages of the aorta or other blood vessels. Individuals with high blood pressure, certain genetic disorders involving blood vessels or the elderly should also avoid use unless no other treatment options are available, according to the agency.

The new risk guidance will be added to the labels and prescribing information of fluoroquinolone drugs.


If you have any of the aforementioned risks, inform your health care professional before starting an antibiotic prescription. 

» RELATED: Antibiotics could raise risk of kidney stones, study says

How to spot an aortic dissection

The condition appears similar to heart attack and stroke.

Symptoms of aortic dissection, according to the Mayo Clinic

  • sudden severe chest or upper back pain
  • sudden severe abdominal pain
  • shortness of breath
  • loss of consciousness
  • comparatively weak pulse in one arm or thigh 
  • leg pain
  • sudden difficulty speaking
  • loss of vision
  • paralysis of one side of your body
  • difficulty walking

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Anyone experiencing sudden, severe and constant pain in the back, chest or stomach should immediately seek medical attention.

The FDA has previously addressed concerns about fluoroquinolones, from significant decreases in blood sugar, tendinitis and certain mental health side effects. 

Read the full announcement at fda.gov.

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