FDA Restricting Antibiotics In Livestock
January 5, 2012

FDA Restricting Antibiotics In Livestock

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Wednesday that it will begin restricting the use of some antibiotics in cows, pigs and poultry due to concerns that infections in humans may be growing resistant to treatment.

The FDA's order applies to a common class of drugs known as cephalosporins, which are given to healthy animals as a cautionary measure for potential infections.

The FDA will begin to ban the use of cephalosporin drugs in April for disease prevention in livestock.

The agency order also prevents drugs from being administered in any "unapproved" way to cattle, swine, chickens or turkeys.

The FDA said in a statement that veterinarians can still "prescribe cephalosporins for limited extra-label use in cattle, swine, chickens or turkeys as long as they follow the dose, frequency, duration, and route of administration that is on the label."

The agency hopes this move will protect the effectiveness of these drugs in humans, and "is intended to reduce the risk of cephalosporin resistance in certain bacterial pathogens."

"We believe this is an imperative step in preserving the effectiveness of this class of important antimicrobials that takes into account the need to protect the health of both humans and animals," Michael Taylor, FDA deputy Commissioner for Foods, said in a statement.

Cephalosporins are often used in humans to treat pneumonia, skin and soft tissue infections including E. Coli and staph, pelvic inflammatory disease, diabetic foot infections, and urinary tract infections.

The FDA said when diseases become resistant, doctors must turn to other drugs that may not be as effective or may have stronger side effects.


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