Fluoroquinolone use linked to heart problems, research suggests

After examining data from more than 9 million patients, researchers found that fluoroquinolone users were 2.4 times more likely to develop aortic or mitral regurgitation. 

Packets of antiobiotics

Patients exposed to fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin, are more than twice as likely to develop aortic or mitral regurgitation (backflow of blood into the heart), compared with patients taking amoxicillin, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (9 September 2019)[1]

Researchers examined adverse drug event data collected by the US Food and Drug Administration to identify cases of valvular regurgitation and through disproportionality analysis, discovered a stronger adverse drug event signal for fluoroquinolones compared with other medicines.

They also identified 12,505 cases of valvular regurgitation, which were matched with 125,020 controls from a sample of more than 9 million private health insurance claimants.

Current users of fluoroquinolones were 2.4 times more likely to develop aortic or mitral regurgitation compared with those taking amoxicillin. The risks of aortic or mitral regurgitation were highest with current use of fluoroquinolones (a prescription issued within the 30 days prior to the adverse event).

“It might be prudent to consider antibiotics that are chemically distinct to fluoroquinolones in patients with a previous history of valvular regurgitation who require antibacterial therapy,” the researchers concluded.


[1] Etminan M, Sodhi M, Ganjizadeh-Zavareh S et al. Oral fluoroquinolones and risk of mitral and aortic regurgitation. J Am Coll Cardiol 2019;74(11):1444–1450. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2019.07.035

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, November 2019, Vol 303, No 7931;303(7931):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20207248

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