Home Health He takes antibiotics and begins to hear “the voice of God”

He takes antibiotics and begins to hear “the voice of God”


This is the unlikely story of a patient who, treated with antibiotics for pneumonia, was takenauditory hallucinations and began to hear the voice of God. His extremely rare case was reported in the journal BMC Psychiatry (source 1).

The 50-year-old initially went to hospital to be treated for left basal pneumonia. The doctors then prescribed him a classic combination: amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. But seeing his respiratory discomfort persist, they prescribe another antibiotic, clarithromycin.

Elected for “a special mission”

“Two days after the second antibiotic prescription, his family members noted gradual change in behaviorwith unusual logorrhea, irritability and increased physical activity,” the doctors said in their report.

A mystical delirium quickly taken care of

The patient had no known allergies, smoked tobacco, drank alcohol, took illicit substances, and had never taken antibiotics before. He was quickly transferred to the emergency room of the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG).

The man was partially aware of his hallucinations and, after consultation with the doctors, it was decided to suspend his treatment immediately. The psychiatric symptoms then disappeared within a dozen hours. “We then considered this event as a probable side effect of clarithromycin“, explain the doctors.

The importance of documenting this phenomenon

The diagnosis retained is that of aantibiotic mania“, an extremely rare phenomenon that designates the development of a manic episode following the taking of antibiotics. Its occurrence is unpredictable and related to “individual biological susceptibility”.

“The appearance of psychiatric side effects related to antibiotic therapy, which is a very commonly used treatment, can have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life, insist the doctors. Although a rare phenomenon, these clinical presentations and their differential diagnosis deserve greater attention, both for primary care physicians and mental health professionals.”

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