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The findings of a new study suggests that the antibiotic doxycycline may have little to no effect on reducing the growth of abdominal aortic aneurysms, which can be life threatening.
In a report published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers from across the U.S. found that doxycycline was no more effective than a placebo at retarding the growth of small abdominal aortic aneurysms over a two-year period.
Aortic aneurysm is a painful and potentially serious condition involving a bulge in the aorta, where the walls of the artery have weakened. It can result in severe chest pain, as well as carry the risk of rupturing.
Previous studies have actually linked some antibiotics to an increased risk of suffering both aortic aneurysms and even more deadly aortic dissections, which is a similar, but more life-threatening, condition. However, those antibiotics belonged to a class known as fluoroquinolones, which includes Levaquin, Avelox and Cipro. Doxycycline belongs to a class of antibiotics known as tetracyclines.
In this latest study, researchers conducted a randomized clinical trial at 22 U.S. clinical centers from May 2013 to January 2017, involving 261 patients who were 50 years or older and diagnosed with small infrarenal aneurysms. Roughly half were given a twice-daily 100mg dose of docycycline for two years, while the other half were given a placebo.
Researchers looked for change in abdominal aortic aneurysm diameters through the use of CT scans, however, the findings indicated there was no statistical difference between the development of the aneurysms between the two groups. The two groups also experienced similar rates of joint pain.
“Among patients with small infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysms, doxycycline compared with placebo did not significantly reduce aneurysm growth at 2 years,” the researchers concluded. “These findings do not support the use of doxycycline for reducing the growth of small abdominal aortic aneurysms.”
Concerns about the risk of aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm with fluoroquinolone antibiotics emerged in late 2015, following the publication of a report in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine, which found that current use of Levaquin, Avelox or other similar antibiotics was associated with a two-fold increased risk of suffering an aortic aneurysm or dissection injury.
Several drug manufacturers faced hundreds of Levaquin lawsuits, Avelox lawsuits and Cipro lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system over side effects allegedly caused by the antibiotics, including claims for individuals diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm or dissection injury.