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Zithromax Reactions Rare, But Real Nonetheless

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Washington, DCAs Americans and their physicians continue to embrace antibiotics as the quickest and most efficient method of controlling grievous infections, the capacity for drugs such as Zithromax to imbue patients with Zithromax side effects remains a hot-button debate between proponents of modern medicine and traditionalists who wonder if the cure might be worse than the disease.

Azithromycin (Zithromax) is one such antibiotic. While designed to chase and rout infection from the human body, various studies in recent years have tagged the medication with various red flags concerning Zithromax Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS).

While the cases have been few, a study that appeared under the auspices of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (2006) nonetheless found a link between azithromycin and the emergence of Zithromax SJS in at least two cases.

More recently, a young boy of 10 from Jackson, Florida was hospitalized with Stevens Johnson Syndrome doctors linked to the use of Sulfamethoxazole-TMP. However, the SJS patient was also administered Zithromax as part of the boy's treatment for headaches and a sinus infection.

According to reports, there was no indication of skin rash—an early sign of Stevens Johnson Syndrome—associated with the use of Sulfamethoxazole-TMP. However, two days following the issuance of Zithromax, a skin rash appeared and a diagnosis of SJS soon followed. Doctors nonetheless linked the boy's bout with SJS to Sulfamethoxazole-TMP, although Zithromax was in the mix at the time.

There are other Zithromax reactions that are cause for concern, including a small risk to the heart, according to a recent study. Bloomberg News (5/17/12) in May carried a report on research that suggested a risk of cardiovascular death, primarily amongst heart patients. The study, which was published that same month in the New England Journal of Medicine, noted the threat as small, but a risk nonetheless.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for its part, was reported to have been reviewing the study. In the meantime, the federal drug regulator had already taken Zithromax manufacturer Pfizer Inc. to task for, in the FDA's view, not properly representing the various risks and other data associated with Zithromax, often dubbed 'Zmax,' in marketing information—specifically, a brochure.

The publication, according to the FDA, downplayed the potential risks associated with azithromycin. "Serious allergic reactions, including angioedema, anaphylaxis, Stevens Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis have been reported rarely in patients on azithromycin therapy using other formulations. Although rare, fatalities have been reported."

There is little doubt that antibiotics have become an important response to serious infection, including those, which in some patients, can be fatal. That said, antibiotics such as Zithromax with a higher degree of risk, however slight, over similar medications are required to be accompanied with the necessary risks properly articulated. While the FDA appeared to have no quarrel with the product labeling itself, the marketing brochure issued by Pfizer for Zithromax, or 'Zmax' was lacking in both substance and clarity.

However small, Zithromax skin rash that could develop into full-blown Zithromax Stevens Johnson Syndrome, remains a possibility.


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