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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Ischemic Heart Disease

Question: Erythromycin and blood pressure meds leading to heart attack

 aimerica - Thu Sep 09, 2004 9:36 pm

Ok... another heart attack question. I recently read that the use of erythromycin in conjunction with 'common medications used to treat high blood pressure' may lead to heart attack in 6 out of 10,000 patients. Could you elaborate on this study and possibly include the blood pressure medications with which erythromycin has this potentially harmful effect?
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Sat Sep 25, 2004 12:29 am

User avatar Dear Aimerica,

Erythromycin is one of the medications that are known to interact with lots of medications because of its characteristics.

Heart attack does not ensue, the combination leads to sudden death which means basically means that the person develops fatal arrhythmias.

It is known to increase the level of certain drugs and its level increased by several drugs.

The blood pressure medications that are known to interact with erythromycin and erythromycin can cause their level to increase and vice versa include diltiazem and verapamil.

Regarding other blood pressure medications that can cause arrhythmias because of electrolyte disturbance (like low potassium), these include combinations of medications of the family of the ace-inhibitors (like lisinopril) and diuretics (like hydrochlorothiazide). Another combination that may lead to the same results is angiotensin 2 receptor blockers (like losartan) and diuretics (like hydrochlorothiazide). This leads to low potassium which leads to this arrhythmias and sudden death.

To avoid such interactions, whenever you are prescribed any medication for any reason or you are going to take an otc medication for any reason, you have to always remind your doctor of the medications that you are taking.

Thank you very much for using our website and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D

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