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. 2017 Nov;96(44):e8273.
doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000008273.

Fluoroquinolones Increase the Risk of Serious Arrhythmias: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Free PMC article

Fluoroquinolones Increase the Risk of Serious Arrhythmias: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Xiao Liu et al. Medicine (Baltimore). .
Free PMC article


Background: The association between oral fluoroquinolones (FQs) usage and risk of severe arrhythmia-related events (ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death) remains controversial. Therefore we aimed to quantify this association and to evaluate the effects of FQs on adverse cardiovascular (CV) outcomes.

Methods: We retrieved data from the Cochrane Collaboration, PubMed, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) databases until August 2017. The studies that reported relative risk (RR) estimates with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the associations of interest were included. Data were extracted from the eligible articles, and we used a random effects model to calculate the effect estimates.

Results: Of the 16 studies that were included, 7 studies included serious arrhythmias, 3 studies included CV death, and 11 studies included all-cause death. The pooled RRs of FQs use were: 2.29 (95% CI: 1.20-4.36, P = .01) for serious arrhythmias; 1.60 (95% CI: 1.17-2.20, P = .004) for CV death; and 1.02 (95% CI: 0.76-1.37, P = .92) for all-cause death. The RRs associated with serious arrhythmias were 6.27 for gatifloxacin, 4.20 for moxifloxacin, 1.73 for ciprofloxacin, and 1.41 for levofloxacin. Current FQs users showed an increased risk of serious arrhythmias in the subgroup analysis. Treatment with FQs is associated with an absolute risk increase of 160 additional sudden deaths or ventricular arrhythmias, and 43 additional CV deaths per 1 million treatment courses.

Conclusion: The use of FQs could increase the risk of serious arrhythmias and CV death but not increase or all-cause death. Moreover, moxifloxacin and levofloxacin showed a higher risk of serious arrhythmias.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Flow diagram of study selection.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Meta-analysis of RR of serious arrhythmia, cardiovascular death, and all-cause death associated with FQs compared to no FQs use. CI = confidence interval, FQs = fluoroquinolones, IV = inverse of the variance, RR = relative risks, SE = standard error.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Egger test showing the public bias of association of cardiovascular risk with FQs. (A) Serious arrhythmia. (B) All-cause death. FQs = fluoroquinolones.

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