Zithromax® Maker Faces Lawsuits Over Side Effects

Consumers claiming they have suffered from negative impact of Zithromax® had filed lawsuits against its manufacturer, medical experts say. The drug has been linked to an increased possibility of heart problems, liver problems, and sudden death based on medical reports. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had already issued a safety warning in March 2013 to Pfizer concerning the risks involved in taking it.

Overview: Pfizer License

Pharmaceutical formulation Zithromax® was discovered in 1980 by a team of researchers in Pilva, a Croatian pharmaceutical company. It was in 1996 when Pilva and Pfizer signed a licensing agreement, which gave Pfizer sole rights for the sale of Zithromax® in the US market, as well as other European countries.

Zithromax® (azithromycin), which is also called Zmax and Z-Pac, is an antibiotic that is used to treat a number of infections such as skin infections, respiratory infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and ear infections, typhoid, bronchitis, and sinusitis among others. It comes as a capsule, tablet, or liquid for oral ingestion. It is usually taken once a day for two to five days.

It is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the US with 48.5 million prescriptions written and sold in 2010 alone. It was often prescribed over amoxicillin, another common antibiotic, because of its easier regimen.

Zithromax and Heart Problems

According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), Zithromax® has had a 1.5 increased risk of sudden death from cardiac-related problems than patients who also took similar antibiotics or did not take any antibiotics. In light of this study, Pfizer, the drug’s manufacturer, appears to have started its own review of current reports of cardiovascular events linked to the product.

The NEJM study and Pfizer’s internal review have the same results. Pfizer discusses the relationship between Zithromax® and heart problems, including a risk of death in patients with cardiovascular disease. Pfizer recognized prolonged cardiac repolarization and QT interval, which increases the risk of developing cardiac arrhythmia and torsades de pointes (TdP) as probable Zithromax® side effects.

Given these risks, Pfizer advised medical professional “that it would be prudent to avoid use” in certain patients and points that elderly patients may be more vulnerable to some of these Zithromax® side effects.

Zithromax and Liver Problems

Zithromax® is a type of antibiotic that is eliminated from the body through the liver. A very strong antibiotic, it will most likely cause liver damage and liver failure, medical authorities report. The liver damage related with this drug is quite serious. The patient should immediately stop taking the drug if symptoms are already experienced such as jaundice, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, elevated liver enzyme levels, dark urine, and fever. In severe cases, the damage done by Zithromax® to the liver may cause it to fail, and the only remedy for this is liver transplant.

There were complaints made about it from patients since 1996, yet it was only in 2000 when Pfizer cautioned the public about this serious side effect after the FDA required it to do so.

Zithromax Lawsuits

Zithromax® lawsuits are now being filed against Pfizer on behalf of patients who have suffered from liver damage, heart attack, sudden death, or any other side effects after taking the drug. By filing a lawsuit, financial compensation may be available for them.


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