Commonly used antibiotics may lead to heart problems, study says

Canadian researchers examine relationship between antibiotics and heart health

Although antibiotics help destroy the growth of harmful bacteria, they may be bad for your heart, according to a new report.

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Researchers from the University of British Columbia recently conducted a study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, to determine the relationship between antibiotics and the risk of aortic and mitral regurgitation, which occurs when the blood backflows into the heart.

To do so, they gathered medical information from a private insurance health claims database and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They then identified 12,505 patients with mitral regurgitation and their exposure to fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as Ciprofloxacin or Cipro.

After analyzing the results, they found fluoroquinolone users face a 2.4 times greater risk of developing aortic and mitral regurgitation, compared to those on different types of antibiotics. They noted the highest risk was within 30 days of use.

"This class of antibiotics is very convenient, but for the majority of cases, especially community-related infections, they're not really needed," lead author Mahyar Etminan said in a statement. "The inappropriate prescribing may cause both antibiotic resistance as well as serious heart problems."

Although the team did not explore why fluoroquinolone antibiotics increase the risk of heart problems, they hope their assessment will education the public and physicians about its potentially harmful effects.

This isn’t the first time antibiotics have been associated with health issues.

Earlier this year, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found a link between colon cancer and the medicine. They said penicillins were associated with an increased risk of colon cancer in the first and middle parts of the colon, and tetracyclines were associated with a reduced risk of rectum cancer in the last part of the bowel.

Want to learn more about the latest findings? Take a look here.

» RELATED: These common antibiotics could increase colon cancer risk

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