‘Groundbreaking’ news for your cat friends! The FDA approves the first arthritis pain management drug for cats


Almost every cat owner can recall the sad moment they realized that their beloved, four-legged companion might have entered the last phase of their lives.

This may be the first time they have jumped on a bed, or maybe they have gradually stopped grooming themselves and using the trash box.

Although these may look like signs of “aging”, they can also be caused by osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition in the joints.

Pet health experts say this chronic disease is the most prevalent among our feline friends, affecting about 45% of all cats and 90% of cats over the age of 12. But there was never a tried and true cure for managing their pain.

So far.

On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first medication to treat arthritis-related pain in cats. It is the first monoclonal antibody approved in the US for use in any animal species.

Dr. Carr is a professor of translational pain research and surgery at North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine. “I’ve been in pain research for 30 years and this is the most exciting development that has happened.”

Lascelles said “Gamechanger” therapy can add several years to a cat’s life and lead to pain research and management for all other furry friends, including dogs.

“Finally, for the first time in the US, there is a more effective treatment for managing joint pain in cats,” he said. “So extend their lives, expand their happiness and expand the beautiful relationship between cats and their owners.”

In cats with arthritis, the cartilage cushion around their joints breaks so that the bones rub against each other, reducing pain and movement of the joints, according to the FDA. Although it is more common in older cats, Lassells says our furry friends can be diagnosed with arthritis from 6 months to a year old.

The new drug – called Solensia – does not treat it directly, but the FDA says it can help improve the quality of the cat’s life and manage the pain associated with arthritis.

In two clinical trials submitted to the agency, 77% of cat owners saw improvement in their cats when treated monthly, compared to 67% of cat owners in the placebo group.

“Being able to be mobile is very important to quality of life,” Lassells said. “Cats are described as needing 3D spaces. They need to move on the ground but they need to be able to go up high.

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Solencia is a cat-specific monoclonal antibody that is injected under the skin by a veterinarian once a month. The most common side effects seen in cats treated with the new drug are vomiting, diarrhea, injection site pain, scab on the head and neck, dermatitis and skin itching.

The traditional method of treating pain associated with arthritis is animal-specific nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS such as ibuprofen for pets. But they are meant for short-term use, says Dr. Jenkins, assistant professor of small animal orthopedic surgery at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Said Nina Keeves.

“And we can’t really give these drugs if they have severe kidney disease,” he said. “Cats have a higher prevalence of acute kidney disease as they get older.”

NSADS should be taken orally, which is difficult for cat owners to handle at home, says Keeves.

“Cat (arthritis) pain is usually treated less because there is a lack of safe and effective remedies for long-term use and how difficult it is for oral medications for cat owners,” said Mike McFarland, chief medical officer of Zoetis. , Which manufactures a recently approved drug. “The endorsement of Solencia is a significant step.”

The drug will be available in the second half of 2022, according to a company press release. The price is not final.

Follow Adriana Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.

Health and patient safety coverage is made possible in part by a competition grant from the Massimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Healthcare. The Massimo Foundation does not provide editorial input.

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