FDA: New limits coming on antimicrobial use

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FDA logoFederal drug authorities plan to increase veterinarian control of antimicrobial use and add limits on administration.

In a July 31 announcement, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said his agency is creating a five-year plan to reduce overuse of antimicrobials, increase drug stewardship, and combat the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance.

"Some of the important issues to be addressed in this new plan include establishing appropriate durations of use of medically important antimicrobials, and bringing all dosage forms of medically important antimicrobials under veterinary oversight," he said in the statement.

"We are also developing and advancing new strategies for promoting antimicrobial stewardship in companion animals."

By January 2017, FDA officials had removed production indications—such as growth promotion—from livestock-use antimicrobials that are delivered in feed or water and are in the same classes as those used in human medicine. They also removed over-the-counter access to those antimicrobials, requiring veterinarian oversight through prescriptions or veterinary feed directives.

The FDA made those changes through agreements with drug companies, although the agency had warned that companies that failed to cooperate could face administrative action by the agency.

The commissioner noted that the changes already implemented through January 2017 affected 292 animal drug applications, of which 84 were withdrawn. Another 115 administered in feed now require veterinary feed directives, and the remaining 93 administered in water now require prescriptions. Thirty-one of the products lost production indications.

Dr. Gottlieb said the coming changes will build on that progress.

Related JAVMA content:

WHO seeks end to antibiotic use without disease (Jan. 1, 2018)

Drug changes not affecting pig health, so far (May 1, 2017)

Restrictions on medicated feeds coming to farms (Nov. 1, 2016)