Mar Vista Animal Medical Center

3850 Grand View Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066

(310)391-6741

www.marvistavet.com

ORBIFLOXACIN

(for veterinary information only)

 

BRAND NAME: ORBAX

 

AVAILABLE IN
5.7 mg, 22.7 mg & 68 mg
TABLETS
and
FLAVORED ORAL SUSPENSION

 

BACKGROUND

Human beings have been at odds with microbes since the beginning of time and the quest for new medications continues even today. When sulfa drugs came on the scene in the 1940's, an "age of antibiotics" was born and a new dimension had opened in the combat against microbes. From there a proliferation of antibiotics developed, each new medication exploiting a different aspect of bacterial metabolism until it seemed that the war on microbes would soon be won.

Despite this progress, one particular bacterial species remained seemingly invincible: Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This species of bacteria was able to change its antibiotic susceptibility with each antibiotic exposure, become resistant to multiple drugs in response to every medication used against it. Eventually, the aminoglycoside class of antibiotics was developed and there was finally a way to kill Pseudomonas fairly reliably but the price was that medication was injectable only, necessitating hospitalization for the patient, and potential kidney damage could result with prolonged use.

A major breakthrough against Pseudomonas came with the development of the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics (including enrofloxacin, its counterpart for human use ciprofloxacin, and several others). These medications are active against many bacterial types including  Pseudomonas. They are available as tablets and are not associated with the serious side effects that plagued the aminoglycoside group. Enrofloxacin is the veterinary fluoroquinolone introduced by Bayer to address the need for treatment of Pseudomonas infections in pets. It was the first quinolone for veterinary use and despite decades of use, still dominates the quinolone class for animal use.

Fluoroquinolones act by deactivating bacterial enzymes necessary for the transcription of DNA. DNA is very tightly coiled in order to fit inside a cell. Segments of DNA to be used in protein production must be uncoiled by an enzyme called DNA gyrase. The fluoroquinolone antibiotics deactivate DNA gyrase making the reading of DNA impossible. The bacterial cell dies. Mammalian DNA gyrase is of a completely different shape and remains untouched.

Strand of DNA.
(Photocredit: NIH Public Image Library)

USES OF THIS MEDICATION

This medication may be used in either dogs or cats to combat different types of infections, especially those involving Pseudomonas. Orbifloxacin is also active against Staphylococci, and thus is commonly used for infections of the skin. Orbifloxacin has poor activity against anaerobic infections (such as are typical in the mouth or in bite wound abscesses.)

 

SIDE EFFECTS

At approximately ten times the recommended dose vomiting and diarrhea may be seen with this medication. At normal doses, this should not be seen. Dogs with Pseudomonas ear infections require very high doses of orbifloxacin and nausea may indeed become a problem.

In immature dogs (less than 8 months of age) damage to joint cartilage can occur. This phenomenon is only seen in growing dogs and does not seem to be a problem in cats. It is preferable not to use this medication in puppies unless the severity of the infection present warrants it.

Orbifloxacin promotes nervous system stimulation and should be used with caution or not at all in patients with seizure disorders.

The recently described problem with blindness in cats associated with higher doses of enrofloxacin has not been confirmed in orbifloxacin. Orbifloxicin has a slightly different chemical structure which leads to less drug accumulation in the feline eye but potential for problems at higher doses has not been fully investigated.

 

INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER DRUGS

Sucralfate (a medication used to treat stomach ulcers) may bind orbifloxacin and prevent it from entering the body. These medications should be given at least 2 hours apart if they are used together.

Theophylline (an airway dilator) blood levels may be higher than usual if this medication is used concurrently with orbifloxacin. The dose of theophylline may need to be reduced.

If orbifloxacin is used with oral cyclosporine (an immunosuppressive medication useful in several immune-mediated conditions), the kidney damaging properties of cyclosporine may become worse.

Medications or supplements containing iron, zinc, magnesium or aluminum will bind orbifloxacin and prevent absorption into the body. Such medications should be separated from orbifloxacin by at least 2 hours.

Orbifloxacin can synergize with other antibiotics (making their combined effect greater than expected from simply adding their two effects together). Commonly used antibiotics felt to synergize with orbifloxacin include extended spectrum penicillins (such as amoxicillin) and third generation cephalosporins (such as cefpodoxime).

 

CONCERNS AND CAUTIONS

Orbifloxacin tablets are enteric coated to hide the drug's naturally bitter taste. If the tablets are crushed for some reason, the bitter taste is more readily apparent. Crushing tablets to put in an animal's food is unlikely to be an effective way to administer orbifloxacin.

Pseudomonas infections are especially common in ears. In this location, especially high doses of orbifloxacin are needed to clear this infection.

Orbifloxacin should be avoided in pregnant, or nursing pets nor in immature dogs unless the severity of the infection warrants it (because of the potential damage that can occur to developing cartilage as mentioned above).

Orbifloxacin may lower the seizure threshold (meaning that it can facilitate seizures). This is not a problem for normal animals but fluoroquinolones are best not used in animals with known seizure disorders.

Orbifloxacin is best given on an empty stomach but may be given with a small amount of non-dairy food if nausea is a concern.

 

Printer Friendly Version
(PDF Version)

Page last updated: 1/7/2017