Metacam risks in cats

functions and general state of health. Don’t try to save money by refusing these tests; it’s essential to know if your cat is at greater risk. Should side effects occur, your vet is likely to order another round of tests to check the drug’s impact on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to reduce your cat. Be prepared for these costs.
pain and inflammation. This article deals with two versions: Metacam Solution for Injection (for cats) and Metacam Oral The post-surgical use of Metacam Oral in smaller cats (under 10 lbs.) poses a unique problem. The product sheet for Metacam Oral2 warns against administering the drug directly into the Metacam Solution for Injection was approved for one-time mouth for dogs weighing less than 10 lbs, as this may cause use only in cats on 28 Nov 2004 (NADA 141-219). Metacam an accidental overdose. Instead, it must be mixed with food to Oral Suspension was approved for dogs only on 15 Apr 2003 ensure slower absorption. The Metacam Injection used during (NADA 141-213). As of July 2006, the approval status of both surgery may cause loss of appetite, and the cat won’t eat his oral dose. So you’re likely to try to administer the dose directly into the mouth, but if your cat weighs less than 10 lbs. (and There is a misconception that using medications in a non- many do), this only increases the risk of overdose.
FDA-approved fashion is illegal. This is simply not so; the FDA regulates drug manufacturers, not the practice of veterinary medicine. Veterinarians may prescribe any drugs they have Given the clearly documented risks of Metacam Oral in cats, it reason to believe are safe and effective, even if the particular is wise to ask your veterinarian the following questions if he or use is not FDA approved (this practice is known as “off-label” or “extralabel” use). However, you and your cat do not have Are my cat’s blood tests (especially liver & kidney functions) OK? any FDA assurance that the drug is safe and effective.
What side effects should I look out for? Under what conditions should I discontinue the medication? Metacam is commonly used in cats for two cases: Who do I call on evenings or weekends if my cat has a reaction? Is there a 24-hour emergency animal hospital in the area? (a) Metacam Solution for Injection (or simply “Metacam May I have copies of the Metacam product sheets? Injection”) is used to provide post-operative relief of pain and Persians are a more delicate breed, are you sure this is safe? inflammation for up to 24 hours following procedures such as My cat weighs less than 10 pounds, are you sure this is safe? dentistry, spaying and neutering. Vets often prescribe a few What other pain medications are FDA-approved in cats? daily follow-up doses of Metacam Oral for continued pain What pain medications were you using prior to Metacam Oral’s relief, although this is not an FDA approved use.
(b) Metacam Oral Suspension (or simply “Metacam Oral”) is Are these medications safer and/or cheaper than Metacam? often prescribed to relieve arthritis pain in cats. Although this is also not an FDA approved use, it is known to be effective, albeit with some risk.
There are clearly documented risks associated with the off-label use of Metacam Oral in cats which may lead to kidney failure and death. These risks should be carefully discussed According to the manufacturer’s product sheet1, Metacam has with your veterinarian before proceeding with any Metacam treatment. For post-operative pain relief, explore other alternatives in cats, meaning that there is very little difference between a with your veterinarian before agreeing to the use of Metacam.
safe, effective dose and a toxic dose. Repeated doses of Metacam Oral in cats have been known to result in death, as documented in the clinical tests3 submitted to the FDA.
The narrow safety margin in cats is reflected in the FDA’s The United States Food and Drug Administration Adverse Drug Experience (ADE) reports4 for Metacam Oral, which summarize drug side effects reported by veterinarians. Of 842 reports for dogs, 19 cases of kidney failure and no [1] Product sheet: Metacam Solution for Injection for Cats Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (revised October 2004) deaths were reported. However in 320 cats, 105 cases of kidney failure, 48 deaths and 35 cases resulting in euthanasia [2] Product sheet: Metacam Oral Suspension for Dogs have been reported. This clearly indicates that Metacam poses Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (revised January 2005) a much greater risk in cats than in dogs.
[3] Freedom of Information Summary for Supplemental NADA 141-219 The use of Metacam poses not only a significant health risk to (Metacam 5 mg/mL Solution for Injection for cats), 28 October 2004 the cat, but also exposes the cat owner to significant financial See “Tolerance Study in Cats on Meloxicam”, pp. 24-26 risk. The treatment of kidney failure requires days of hospitalization, and the outcome may be death. Whether the cat survives or [4] Adverse Drug Experiences (ADE) Report, 9 June 2006 not, the hospital bill can easily exceed $1,000.
Because of Metacam’s narrow safety margin, veterinarians will order blood tests to check your cat’s kidney and liver Metacam® is a registered trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.


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