FDA Warns Against Long-Term Azithromycin Use for Some

Warning for blood cancer patients who have undergone donor stem cell transplant

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MONDAY, Aug. 13, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning patients with cancers of the blood or lymph nodes who undergo a donor stem cell transplant not to take azithromycin, as long-term use of the antibiotic has been associated with increased risk of cancer relapse.

In a clinical trial, azithromycin was being used to prevent bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome in patients with cancers of the blood or lymph nodes who underwent a donor stem cell transplant. However, long-term use of the antibiotic was tied to cancer relapse and death.

"Health care professionals should not prescribe long-term azithromycin for prophylaxis of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome to patients who undergo donor stem cell transplants because of the increased potential for cancer relapse and death," the agency said in a statement.

Health care professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of azithromycin to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.

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