Antimicrobial market expands with new generic drugs

Producers should follow the lead of their herd veterinarian before making any changes to prevention or treatment of feedlot cattle. | File photo

A widely used macrolide antibiotic used to prevent respiratory disease in cattle has come off patent.

When the Draxxin antimicrobial first reached the market, there was huge uptake in the Canadian feedlot industry. Zuprevo, Micotil and Zactran, all used primarily for treatment of bacterial respiratory disease, are in the same macrolide family.

Now that the patent is off Draxxin, several companies have manufactured products with the same active molecule. However, producers should follow the lead of their herd veterinarian before making any changes to prevention or treatment of feedlot cattle.

More than six products with the same molecular composition as Draxxin could reach the Canadian market this fall. It will likely cause a competitive marketing situation as these companies all try to get market share. That could mean price reductions.

Draxxin has also been used to treat foot rot and pinkeye in the cow-calf sector and those indications are on the label. Use in dart guns has increased, but I hope this only occurs upon clear advice from a veterinarian. It is a Class 2 antimicrobial so it should only be used when needed and when there is no alternative that would be as effective.

Always question whether the condition being treated is really foot rot or pinkeye because an antibiotic may not be needed.

The new generic products will have names like Lydaxx, Tulamaxx, Tulaven, Tulisson and Increxxa. Naming relates to the active ingredient or the original product, Draxxin, with the double x.

I think there is always a complicated naming process, especially if looking at it globally. What is considered an appropriate or unique name in one language may be a swear word in another.

Names are important to consider. A prime example is the range of generic ivermectins that hit the market years ago. They are the same product so switching brands makes little difference.

This is a common mistake that occurs in the market when there’s no proper consultation. There are many different names and they should all work the same way and have the same efficacy and dosage withdrawals if they are true generic products.

I believe two of the new Draxxin-like macrolides come in plastic bottles. This is a great trend in the cattle industry to decrease breakage during shipping but also when administering it chute side or packing it in a treatment kit.

Plastic bottles offer a soft advantage but I imagine protective covers for glass bottles will be available too.

As if there isn’t enough choice already, the company that makes Draxxin has also released Draxxin KP. The KP stands for ketoprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug. This would provide a combination product with an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) to help control inflammation and reduce fever in pneumonia. This product is only listed with U.S. availability but I am sure they are licensing it in Canada.

All these products need a veterinary prescription so the veterinary-client-patient relationship is vital.

We can’t lose sight of the fact that we are trying to practise prudent antibiotic use, so follow the health protocols established with your veterinarian regarding treatment of cattle on arrival.

Greater use of preconditioning, vaccination and minimized stress can reduce the need for antimicrobials. There is a documented increase in antimicrobial resistance to macrolides so one must continually monitor whether these metaphylactic drugs are working.

Modern veterinarians take cultures from time to time to make sure the antibiotics are working. These cultures and sensitivity tests ideally should be done on untreated animals.

It will be an interesting year with all these equivalent products coming out. Lots of calves will be weaned early and perhaps shipped earlier because of the drought conditions and poor-quality pastures.

As a result, these animals may have some nutritional deficits. Flies and internal parasites also add stress. Use of microbials in such cases will have to be considered carefully between producer and veterinarian.

Roy Lewis works as a veterinarian in Alberta.

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