Antibiotics Tied to Reduced Heart Attack Risk
January 02, 2008
Treatment with certain antibiotics appears to result in a reduced risk of heart attack over the following three years. The team concludes that their findings provide more indirect evidence supporting the theory that a bacterial infection may raise the risk of heart attack. Previous research has suggested an association between certain bacterial infections and cardiac risk. The known contributors to heart attacks -- such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and smoking -- fail to account for many cases, so doctors believe other causes are probably lurking. One theory is that unseen infections cause inflammation of the heart arteries, allowing fatty deposits to find a better foothold. That may explain why aspirin is so good at preventing heart attacks. Besides interfering with blood clotting, aspirin relieves inflammation.
In this study, two types of antibiotics -- tetracyclines and quinolones -- were associated with a lower risk of heart attack. Other antibiotics -- penicillins, macrolides, sulfonamids and cephalosporins -- were not. The findings make sense because the germ suspected of causing heart disease, Chlamydia pneumoniae, is most vulnerable to tetracyclines and quinolones. The bug -- which is in the same family as the bacteria that cause the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia -- usually attacks the lungs, causing illnesses ranging from mild bronchitis to pneumonia. But many people have the germ and aren’t sick. To tease out the possible role of infection, the researchers analyzed the medical records of 3,315 British patients who suffered heart attacks but had no known risk factors for heart disease. The researchers studied Britons because their national health system tracks all prescriptions and diagnoses. Compared with 13,139 patients who had never suffered heart attacks, the heart-attack subjects were only 70 percent as likely to have taken tetracyclines and 45 percent as likely to have taken quinolones in the previous three years.
COMMENT: This is fascinating research. Many of you know that I have been using the tetracycline drug Minocin to put rheumatoid arthritis into remission for the last ten years. It clearly does not work for everyone, but my observation has been that if people follow the diet listed in The Basics on my web site, nearly 90% of people respond well. I suspect that there may be a similar process with heart disease. I also treat a number of patients with chelation therapy for heart disease and have encountered a number of patients with essentially no know risk factors. I have not been screening for chlamydia but it sure seems to make sense to do so now in individuals who have no known risk factors for heart disease despite having it. I have also reluctantly used the macrolide antibiotic Biaxin to treat bronchitis infections that have not responded to more natural therapies. Based on this new information I will be shifting my choice to either doxyccyline (for those who have to pay out of pocket for their prescriptions) or Minocin (non generic) or Levaquin.