FDA Approves New EPM Treatment

IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. announced Nov. 19 that it received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market and sell Navigator (32% nitazoxanide) antiprotozoal oral paste, a new treatment for equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM). EPM is a progressive, degenerative disease of the central nervous system that can cause serious or even fatal neurological problems in horses. Sarcocystic neurona, the causative protozoan parasite, is widespread among the equine population, with recent epidemiological surveys estimating that approximately 50% of all horses in the United States have been exposed.

Navigator paste is a powerful new treatment for this potentially devastating disease,” commented IDEXX President and CEO Jonathan Ayers. “Navigator paste represents a significant component of a growing range of products and services that IDEXX intends to offer for the detection and treatment of diseases in horses.”

Navigator paste, a member of a new class of drugs (pyruvate: ferredoxin oxidoreductase inhibitors) that block an enzyme essential for energy production in the parasite, successfully treated 81% of horses in an open field study involving more than 400 horses. In this same study, 78% of horses previously treated for EPM were successfully treated with Navigator paste. The apple-flavored paste is administered once a day for 28 days and is packaged in a dispensing box of 26 syringes along with a weight tape and treatment diary.

As with most potent chemotherapies, horses receiving Navigator paste must be carefully monitored during the treatment period for adverse reactions. As with some antibiotics, the administration of nitazoxanide can disrupt the normal microbial flora of the gastrointestinal tract and lead to enterocolitis and, in some cases, death. When treating with Navigator paste, be sure to obtain an accurate body weight and calculate the dose weekly, as overdosing of nitazoxanide must be avoided. Read the Dosing and Administration and Precautions sections of the package insert before dosing the horse. Read the Adverse Reactions section of the package insert for more information on adverse reactions.

For more information regarding NAVIGATOR paste and EPM, visit www.idexx.com/navigator.

IDEXX Laboratories is a world leader in the development and commercialization of innovative, technology-based products and services for animal health. The company’s largest business is focused on companion animal health, combining biotechnology, medical device technology and information technology to aid veterinarians in providing better medicine while building successful practices. IDEXX Laboratories is also focused on employing innovative technologies to monitor production animal health and the safety and quality of drinking water and milk. Headquartered in Westbrook, Maine, IDEXX Laboratories employs more than 2,400 people and offers products to customers in more than 100 countries.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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