A new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM; Baltimore, USA) found that patients with an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) received no benefits from taking a common antibiotic drug to reduce inflammation.
Patients who took the antibiotic doxycycline experienced no reduction in the growth of their aneurysm over two years compared to those who took a placebo, according to the study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
“This study provides strong evidence that doxycycline is of no benefit for patients with small abdominal aortic aneurysms in terms of preventing their growth. Healthcare providers should take note of the finding and stop using this as a prophylactic treatment,” said corresponding author Michael Terrin, professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at UMSOM.
Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (Omaha, USA), the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (Madison, USA), and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (Nashville, USA) also had leadership roles in the study.
The JAMA study involved 254 patients with small aneurysms who were randomly assigned to take either 100 milligrams of doxycycline twice daily or a placebo for two years; CT scans performed at the beginning of the study and on follow-up found no differences in aneurysm growth between those who took the drug and those who took the placebo. Study participants were mostly white and male with an average age of 71 years.
“Randomised clinical trials are essential when it comes to answering important clinical questions,” said Dean E Albert Reece, who is executive vice president for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, and the John Z and Akiko K Bowers distinguished professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “This finding will help guide doctors to avoid an unnecessary treatment for a common condition associated with aging.”