Another Antibiotic Found to be Killing People

In just another typical case of a drug-based “cure” that harms rather than heals, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) rushed a study to its Web site yesterday (free PDF link below) regarding the frightening and harmful effects of the antibiotic Tequin (gatifloxacin) on seniors.

Drugmaker Bristol-Myers already knew trouble was brewing last month when the FDA mandated a warning label advising doctors against prescribing Tequin — one of a group of broad-spectrum antibiotics used to “cure” lung, sinus and urinary tract infections along with some sexually transmitted diseases — to diabetics.

This latest and larger NEJM study found elderly patients above age 65 were an amazing 17 times more likely to have elevated blood sugar levels and four times more prone to have unusually low blood sugar levels, with both conditions requiring hospitalization. More than 1,200 Canadian seniors required medical attention and 69 patients died after taking Tequin over the course of the two-year study.

These horrendous results prompted calls for a ban from some experts along with Public Citizen, although Bristol-Myers claims they were aware of the problems and that the FDA mandated label accounts for those new findings.

Not a bit surprising to me, considering the use of antibiotics has been linked to cancer. For the record, I’m not opposed to antibiotics, just automatically prescribing them. In my experience, I’ve found antibiotics to be used and prescribed inappropriately about 95 percent of the time.

New England Journal of Medicine March 1, 2006Free Full Text PDF

Los Angeles Times March 2, 2006Registration Required March 1, 2006