20 May, 2019

The new categorisation of antimicrobials of the EMA

The deadline for public consultation of the updated new categorisation of antimicrobials ended on April 30. This new classification is an update of the recommendations published in 2014.

The refined classification now comprises four categories:

  • Category A (“Avoid”) includes antimicrobial classes not currently authorised in veterinary medicine in the EU. For these medicines, their use in food-producing animals is prohibited and they may be given to individual companion animals only under exceptional circumstances.
  • Category B (“Restrict”) refers to quinolones, 3rd- and 4th-generation cephalosporins and polymyxins. Use of these antimicrobials in animals should be restricted to mitigate the risk to public health.
  • Category C (“Caution”) covers antimicrobials for which, in general, alternatives in human medicine in the EU exist, but in veterinary medicine there are only few alternatives in certain indications . These antimicrobials should only be used when there are no antimicrobial substances in Category D that would be effective.
  • Category D (“Prudence”) is the lowest risk category. Antimicrobials belonging to this category can be used in animals in a prudent manner. This means that unnecessary use and long treatment periods should be avoided and group treatment should be restricted to situations where individual treatment is not feasible.

The EMA will publish its final EU categorisation of antimicrobials for veterinary use shortly.