FDA: Approves New Antibiotic for Drug-Resistant Bugs
The FDA yesterday approved Zyvox -- the first of a promising new class of antibiotics known as oxazolidines -- for several types of illnesses, including skin and bloodstream infections and pneumonia caused by vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VREF). The drug cured two-thirds of patients with VREF infections in a clinical trial. Other studies have shown Zyvox to be at least as effective as vancomycin against the increasingly drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureas bacteria. Zyvox works by obstructing the formation of proteins that enable bacteria to spread, while other antibiotics target different points of the bacterial life cycle. The drug can be given either intravenously or orally, which could help reduce hospital stays and give it an advantage over Synercid, another antibiotic approved last year to treat similar infections that is given by injection only. However, Zyvox may cost more than 10 times the $14-a-day average cost of vancomycin when it reaches the market in a few weeks, and FDA officials are urging physicians to use it judiciously to forestall development of Zyvox-resistant bacteria strains (Stolberg, New York Times, 4/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.