The next time your doc suggests you take a certain antibiotic, you might want to talk back to her

Those antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones, such as Cipro (ciprofloxacin) are very popular, and in this COVID age, they have been very widely prescribed, very likely highly over-prescribed, in fact.

Yet it’s long been theorized that these drugs can pose a very specific but highly dangerous risk to some people in that fluoroquinolones might (this is still debated) raise the risk of aortic aneurysm, a weakened area in the wall of the aorta, and the danger of an aortic aneurysm is pretty obvious: If that weakened tissue ruptures, it can cause fatal bleeding.

So it’s a common warning to the elderly and people with high blood pressure that they should avoid taking a fluoroquinolone if there is an alternative to these antibiotics, as there very often is.

But according to what might be a canary-in-the-coal-mine study just published in JAMA Surgery, there are a lot more people who might want to be wary about these antibiotics because this observational study claims to have found a higher risk of aneurysms in anyone over the age of 35 who had taken a fluoroquinolone, even those without known risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes or elevated cholesterol.

Now, it’s very important to point out that this raised risk of aneurysm is quite low – these are still thankfully rare complications (less than 1 aneurysm for every 1000 fluoroquinolone prescriptions, while other antibiotics are linked to about half that risk).

That said, there are usually alternative drugs to take and it might be a good idea to ask the doc what the risks are of taking some other medication instead (of course, there are always risks).