NSAIDs continue to be a hot topic for Dogsters. Thanks to Dogsters Jammin Lady and Jo for barking in about this informative article!
BJ Thurman wrote:
Joy thanks so much for posting about the FDA CVM NSAID page that has been added!!! They are still updating it and have added more links to excellent information articles.
I am also extremely pleased to report that the FDA magazine for humans, FDA Consumer Magazine, has an article in the current Sept./Oct. 2006 issue for pet owners about the veterinary NSAIDS. There is emphasis on watching one’s dog closely and taking action at the first sign of any problem. We know firsthand how important this is, as my packmate Jack suffered an adverse reaction to a NSAID in December of 2003 and is alive because we took quick action. BTW the person who helped us know what to do is also a Dogster member. Please check out the article when you have time.
Regards, woofs, and hugs,
Jo and Jammin’ Lady
FDA Consumer magazine
Pain Drugs for Dogs: Be an Informed Pet Owner
By Linda Bren
A decade ago, few drugs were available to treat pets in pain at home. Pups were spayed or neutered at the animal hospital, stitched up, and sent home without pain medication. And dogs with painful arthritis limped along without drugs that were safe and effective for long-term use.
Today, a new generation of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is bringing relief to millions of dogs with joint problems or with pain after surgery.
“NSAIDs are extremely effective for controlling pain and inflammation in dogs,” says Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). “These are very valuable drugs that help many pets live to a ripe old age.”
But like any drugs, NSAIDs carry a risk of side effects, or adverse reactions. Most adverse reactions are mild, but some may be serious, especially if the drugs are not used according to labeled directions. Some reactions result in permanent damage or even death.
“It’s important for pet owners to be aware of the risks and benefits of all drugs, including NSAIDs, so that they can make informed decisions about their pets’ health care,” says Sundlof. “Owners who give their dog NSAIDs need to know the side effects to watch for that indicate their pet needs medical attention.”
The most common side effects from NSAIDs include vomiting, loss of appetite, depression, lethargy, and diarrhea. Serious side effects include gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, perforations, kidney damage, and liver problems.
“The side effects of NSAIDs are very well known and very well documented,” says Michele Sharkey, D.V.M., in the CVM’s Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation. But this information is not always getting to the pet owner, she says. “If the pet
owner can recognize a possible reaction, stop the medication, and get veterinary help, it could mean the difference between a good outcome and a disaster.”
There is a great deal of VERY useful information in this article. I would defintely encourage all pet parents to check it out BEFORE their furbaby gets ill. Here is one section that I found particularly important:
If a pet is prescribed an NSAID, the CVM recommends that pet owners take the following steps to make sure they are fully informed about the drug and can make the best decision for their pet’s health.
Ask Questions and Tell All
Ask your veterinarian about the benefits, risks, and side effects of any medication, including NSAIDs. “An informed dog owner is the best defense against serious side effects from NSAIDs,” says Sharkey. “Owners should not hesitate to ask questions and inquire about possible side effects or signs to watch for when treating a dog.”
Tell your veterinarian your pet’s symptoms and current medications, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbal supplements, and flea control products. Giving NSAIDS and other medications together could harm your pet. Aspirin, for instance, may be in a supplement you’re giving to your pet, says Sharkey, and should not be used in conjunction with an NSAID.
Ask for the Client Information Sheet
Pet owners should receive a “Client Information Sheet” with every NSAID prescription. Client Information Sheets, also called “Information for Dog Owner Sheets,” are user-friendly summaries that explain the results to expect from using the drug, what to discuss with your veterinarian before giving the drug, possible side effects to look for, and other important information. The FDA has helped the pharmaceutical companies who make NSAIDs for dogs develop these sheets for the owners, and the companies provide them with each NSAID they ship.
Ask your veterinarian for the sheet if you do not receive one, and read the information carefully before giving the medication to your dog. If your veterinarian can’t provide the Client Information Sheet, you can get one by printing it from the CVM’s Web site or by calling the toll-free number of the drug company.
Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., deputy director in the CVM’s Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation, explains why some veterinarians may be unable to locate the Client Information Sheet. “They often have the role of veterinarian and the role of pharmacist,” she says. Veterinary hospitals get shipments of drugs from the pharmaceutical companies or distributors. Then they may repackage the drug in their hospitals’ bottles, often in smaller quantities for distributing to clients. In the repackaging process, the Client Information Sheet, which is often printed on the package insert for the veterinarian, may be tossed out inadvertently.