Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

A history of antimicrobial drugs in animals: Evolution and revolution

Lees, P; Pelligand, L; Giraud, E; Toutain, PL


P Lees

L Pelligand

E Giraud

PL Toutain


The evolutionary process of antimicrobial drug (AMD) uses in animals over a mere eight decades (1940–2020) has led to a revolutionary outcome, and both evolution and revolution are ongoing, with reports on a range of uses, misuses and abuses escalating logarithmically. As well as veterinary therapeutic perspectives (efficacy, safety, host toxicity, residues, selection of drug, determination of dose and measurement of outcome in treating animal diseases), there are also broader, nontherapeutic uses, some of which have been abandoned, whilst others hopefully will soon be discontinued, at least in more developed countries. Although AMD uses for treatment of animal diseases will continue, it must: (a) be sustainable within the One Health paradigm; and (b) devolve into more prudent, rationally based therapeutic uses. As this review on AMDs is published in a Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, its scope has been made broader than most recent reviews in this field. Many reviews have focused on negative aspects of AMD actions and uses, especially on the question of antimicrobial resistance. This review recognizes these concerns but also emphasizes the many positive aspects deriving from the use of AMDs, including the major research‐based advances underlying both the prudent and rational use of AMDs. It is structured in seven sections: (1) Introduction; (2) Sulfonamide history; (3) Nontherapeutic and empirical uses of AMDs (roles of agronomists and veterinarians); (4) Rational uses of AMDs (roles of pharmacologists, clinicians, industry and regulatory controls); (5) Prudent use (residue monitoring, antimicrobial resistance); (6) International and inter‐disciplinary actions; and (7) Conclusions.


Lees, P., Pelligand, L., Giraud, E., & Toutain, P. (2020). A history of antimicrobial drugs in animals: Evolution and revolution. Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 6, 2020
Publication Date Jul 29, 2020
Deposit Date Aug 17, 2020
Publicly Available Date Nov 20, 2020
Journal Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Print ISSN 0140-7783
Publisher American Academy of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL
Publisher URL


12859_A history of antimicrobial drugs in animals_ Evolution and revolution_GOLD VoR.pdf (2.2 Mb)

You might also like

Downloadable Citations