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New risk categories for antibiotics

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has released updated advice on the risk categorisation of antibiotics for use in animals.

The EMA’s Antimicrobial Ad-Hoc Expert Group regularly reassesses the potential impact of antibiotic use in animals on human health. In new guidance issued last month, the group created four risk categories of antibiotics, replacing the previous three. These are:

• Category A – ‘Avoid’. Comprises antibiotics reserved for human treatment only that are not permitted for use in food-producing animals.

• Category B – ‘Restrict’. Commonly known as highest-priority critically important antibiotics. Should only be used as a last resort after sensitivity testing when no other antibiotic would be clinically effective.

• Category C – ‘Caution’. Antibiotics in category C should be used only if there is no alternative lower-risk product available in category D.

• Category D – ‘Prudence’. The lowest-risk group, but all products should still be used prudently.

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