Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Increase of adverse events after intravenous injection of gentamicin in horses between 2015 and 2017 : from marketing authorization holder's point of view

Between 2015 and 2017, a marked increase of anaphylactic-like reactions after intravenous administration of gentamicin was observed first in horses and, later, also in humans. This worldwide issue led to safety measures including product recalls and safety warnings. Here, a German Marketing Authorization Holder (MAH) of an early and intensely affected veterinary product containing gentamicin describes the clinical approach of the company to analyze the root cause and identify the causative agent in the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). The pharmacovigilance data of the MAH are presented, along with pharmacovigilance phenomena observed during the affected period. An overview is given on further investigations of the API manufacturer and measures taken by all parties involved, including competent authorities to reestablish a safe use of gentamicin products. The histamine contamination of gentamicin was an exceptional incident of global extent, affecting not only veterinary but also human drug safety. The reactions in horses transpired to also be an indicator of a human health threat, which ultimately contributed to an improvement in the safety of human and veterinary medicinal products containing fermentative APIs. The extreme dimensions of this issue emphasise the important role that veterinary clinicians and practitioners play in spontaneous reporting based pharmacovigilance systems and, by this, in drug safety.

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