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News From the Food and Drug Administration
May 3, 2016

Treating and Preventing Anthrax

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2016;315(17):1826. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.4484

A new agent used to treat and prevent inhalational anthrax has received FDA approval.

Obiltoxaximab, marketed as Anthim, is given by injection and used with appropriate antibacterial drugs to treat inhalational anthrax, which often is deadly. The condition results from inhaling spores of the Bacillus anthracis bacterium.

In the body, the bacteria replicate and produce toxins that cause massive, irreversible tissue injury and death. A monoclonal antibody, obiltoxaximab neutralizes those toxins (http://1.usa.gov/1UJdLzD). Inhalational anthrax is rare but may occur after exposure to infected animals or contaminated animal products.