Ketek (telithromycin) is a form of antibiotics used to treat respiratory infections that affect the lungs and sinuses, including bronchitis and pneumonia. The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April 2004 and is manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis. Read on to learn more about how Ketek works, reported side effects of the drug, and more.
General Precautions with Ketek
Ketek may cause vision problems, specifically when looking quickly between objects close by and objects far away. Reported vision problems include difficulty focusing, blurred vision, and double vision. Some patients experience severe vision problems that may interfere with normal activities. These problems may last several hours and, in some patients, can reoccur with subsequent doses. If you’re taking Ketek, be careful when driving a motor vehicle, operating heavy machinery, or engaging in otherwise hazardous activities.
Don’t take Ketek if you:
- Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to Ketek or any antibiotics known as "macrolides," such as erythromycin, azithromycin (Zithromax), clarithromycin (Biaxin) or dirithromycin (Dynabac)
- Are currently taking cisapride (Propulsid) or pimozide (Orap)
Ketek Special Warnings
Ketek has been linked to reports of severe liver disease. In some cases, liver damage occurred or worsened rapidly after just a few doses of Ketek in some cases. If you develop symptoms of hepatitis (liver disease), which include loss of appetite,stomach pains, tiredness, body aches, nausea, jaundice (yellow color of the skin and/or eyes), dark urine, light-colored stools, or itchy skin, you should contact your doctor immediately and stop using the medication.
Talk to your healthcare professional about other treatments before taking Ketek if you have myasthenia gravis. Stop taking Ketek and seek medical attention if you have myastenia gravis and your symptoms worsen (such as muscle weakness or difficulty breathing).
What Are the Side Effects Associated with Ketek?
Ketek may cause a number of side effects. These side effects may include:
- Upset stomach
- Loose stools
- Changes in ability to taste
- Blurred vision
Some side effects can be serious. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Rapid, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
- Extreme tiredness
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Lack of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in the upper right part of the stomach
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Flu-like symptoms
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Professional?
For some patients, taking Ketek could be dangerous. You should tell your healthcare professional if you:
- Have a rare heart condition known as congenital prolongation of the QT interval
- Are being treated for heart rhythm disturbances with certain medicines known as antiarrhythmics (such as quinidine, procainamide, or dofetilide), or if you have low blood potassium (hypokalemia), or low blood magnesium (hypomagnesemia)
- Have a disease known as myasthenia gravis
- Are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are nursing
- Have ever experienced jaundice (yellow color of the skin and/or eyes) while taking Ketek
- Have any other serious medical conditions, including heart, liver, or kidney disease
You should also tell your healthcare provider about all prescription and nonprescription medicines you take, including vitamins, and herbal supplements. Tell your doctor if you take:
- Cisapride (Propulsid) or pimozide (Orap); and simvastatin, lovastatin, or atorvastatin (used for lowering cholesterol). You should stop treatment with these medications while you are taking Ketek.
- Any of the following medicines:
- Ergot alkaloid derivatives
- Warfarin and other oral anticoagulants (sometimes called blood thinners)
- Diuretics (also sometimes called water pills) such as furosemide or hydrochlorothiazide
Getting Legal Help
While all medications have certain anticipated side effects, drug manufacturers have a duty to make their products as reasonably safe as possible, and to inform the medical community and the public of known risks associated with its drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held legally responsible if patients are injured as the result of inadequate warnings or the unreasonably dangerous nature of the drug, under a legal theory called "product liability."
If you have experienced any unusual medical conditions while using Ketek, you should first contact your healthcare professional. You may also reach out to an experienced product liability attorney to discuss your legal options.