Solithromycin, a ketolide/macrolide antibiotic, has recently been reported to be free of the expected QT-prolonging effect of macrolides. It appears that its keto substitution provides a structural basis for this observation, as the other two tested ketolides also have minimal QT effect.Among non-cardiovascular therapies, antimicrobials probably carry the greatest potential to cause cardiac arrhythmias. This is a result of their propensity to bind to the delayed rectifier potassium channel, IKr, inducing QT prolongation and risk of torsades de pointes ventricular tachycardia, their frequent interference with the metabolism of other QT prolongers and their susceptibility to metabolic inhibition by numerous commonly used drugs.Unfortunately, there is evidence that medical practitioners do not take account of the QT/arrhythmia risk of antimicrobials in their prescribing practices. Education on this topic is sorely needed. When a macrolide is indicated, a ketolide should be considered in patients with a QT risk.
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