BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Abdominal aortic aneurysms are a swelling or ballooning in the major blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lower half of the body. For years, doctors have prescribed an antibiotic to prevent small aneurysms from getting bigger and bursting. A landmark new study may have doctors rethinking that treatment.
It’s a common condition that affects 3% of older Americans. Abdominal aortic aneurysm, a swelling in the aortic vessel.
“Talking to the doctors, they said this is life or death here, you’ve got to have it fixed,” shared AAA survivor Michael Renner.
Dr. Michael Terrin is a researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He and colleagues studied 254 patients with small abdominal aortic aneurysms. Half the group took 100 milligrams of doxycycline twice a day for two years. The other half took a placebo. CT scans showed no difference in aneurysm growth between either group.
“If you don’t have a very high expectation that a medicine is going to do a patient some good, you should really steer clear of it,” warned Michael Terrin, MDCM, MPH at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
In fact, overuse could have a long-range negative impact.
“Doxycycline is an important antibiotic and if it’s used widely in a large percentage of the population every day, that’s an invitation to the development of antibiotic resistance,” explained Terrin.
Researchers say the findings could lead doctors to stop prescribing the drug to aneurysm patients.
Treatments for abdominal aortic aneurysms include surgery and endovascular repair. The researcher’s findings were published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.