It’s a drug that goes by many names, indeed. Azithromycin, an often prescribed antibiotic is also known as Zithromax (its brand name) and “Z-pack” (to its close friends and family). Whatever you call it, you can’t call it boring – GoHealth can’t help but notice that azithromycin has been making a lot of waves in the health news world.
It’s been a popular drug for years, revered by physicians and patients alike as a treatment for certain infectious bacterial infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia and sexually transmitted diseases.
The headlines about azithromycin are not all positive, however. Let’s take a look at the busy summer that this antibiotic has had:
Z-pack does good around the world in the month of May
In May, researchers in the United Kingdom found that azithromycin improves lung function in patients suffering from bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS), a life-threatening occurrence in most patients following lung transplantation. In fact, BOS is the number one cause of death a year following a lung transplant.
Also last month, azithromycin was prescribed heavily in response to Washington state’s epidemic of Whooping Cough (Pertussis). While it is not proven to shorten the length of the illness, it can keep non-infected people from catching it.
Z-pack’s darker side
Researchers at Vanderbilt have found that in rare cases, the “Z-pack” poses a higher risk of cardiovascular death in the first five days of taking the drug. The research shows an increased risk of death, particularly in people with a history of heart problems. The concerns raised by this study do not apply to children, as they are at very little risk for heart disease.
So, there you have it, folks. This is the story of an antibiotic with a bright future and a not-so-perfect past. We will keep you informed of the next time this drug pops up in the news.