The FDA approves the first pain treatment for arthritis in cats

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first treatment to control pain associated with osteoarthritis in cats.

Zoetic Inc.’s Solensia is also the first monoclonal antibody new veterinary drug approved by the FDA for use in any animal species.

The Agency explained in a press release on Thursday it frunevetmab – the active ingredient in Solensia – is a cat-specific monoclonal antibody designed to recognize and bind to a protein called nerve growth factor involved in the regulation of pain.


When the ingredient binds to the nerve growth factor, it prevents the pain signal from reaching the brain.

Solensia was made to help with the quality of life for a cat suffering from osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition of the joints where the normal cartilage cushion in the joints is broken down. The bones in the joint rub against each other, causing pain, decreased joint movement and sometimes the formation of bone spurs or other changes in and around the joint.

The condition worsens over time and Solensia was created to help improve the cat’s quality of life.

“Treatment options for cats with osteoarthritis are very limited. Advances in modern veterinary medicine have been instrumental in prolonging the life of many animals, including cats. But with longer lives come chronic diseases, such as osteoarthritis,” Steven M. Solomon, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in a statement. “Today’s approval marks the first treatment option to help provide relief to cats suffering from this condition and can significantly improve their quality of life. We also hope that today’s approval of the first FDA monoclonal antibody for any animal species will expand research and development of other monoclonal antibody products for the treatment of animal diseases. ”

“Original doubling pain in cats is typically undertreated due to a lack of effective solutions that are safe to use in the long term, along with how difficult it can be for cat owners to administer oral medication2,” said Mike McFarland, Zoeti’s chief physician, in a company announcement. “The approval of Solensia is a significant step forward in the control of OA pain in cats. Both cat owners and veterinarians can feel confident that Solensia, with the active substance frunevetmab, is a monoclonal antibody (mAb) designed specifically for cats, have been studied and demonstrated to control OA pain and help cats get back to moving more freely. “

The FDA evaluated the effectiveness of Solensia in two studies with three clinical assessments that measured different aspects of pain associated with osteoarthritis in cats.


The experiments were masked, randomized, controlled field studies with client-owned cats with clinical signs of osteoarthritis, and the subjects’ veterinarians evaluated the cats based on orthopedic examinations before and after treatment.

Cat owners gave baseline scores of their cats’ levels of impairment during certain activities compared to before they developed osteoarthritis. The owners then assessed their cats’ reactions after receiving treatment.

A cat is lying in the sun on a patio in the backyard

A cat is lying in the sun on a patio in the backyard

Overall, cats in the treatment group had better assessment scores than those in the control group.

Solensia is only available on prescription from a licensed veterinarian because professional expertise is required to properly diagnose osteoarthritis in cats, administer the injection and monitor the safe use of the product.

Solensia is given by injection once a month, with dosage based on the weight of the animal.

The most common side effects in cats treated with Solensia include vomiting, diarrhea, pain at the injection site, crusting of the head and neck, dermatitis and itching.


The FDA said the effects were “relatively mild” without requiring “discontinuation of treatment.”

“The FDA encourages cat owners to work with their veterinary team to report any adverse events or side effects that are potentially related to the use of any drug, including Solensia,” the agency added.

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