Veterinarians Prescribe Breakthrough Arthritis Drug for Dogs Despite Side Effect Concerns

Veterinarians prescribe new arthritis drug Librela for dogs, but some owners report side effects, leading to FDA review and legal investigation into manufacturer Zoetis.

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Rizwan Shah
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Veterinarians Prescribe Breakthrough Arthritis Drug for Dogs Despite Side Effect Concerns

Veterinarians Prescribe Breakthrough Arthritis Drug for Dogs Despite Side Effect Concerns

Veterinarians across the United States are prescribing Librela, a groundbreaking arthritis medication for dogs that eases the pain of osteoarthritis, despite some concerns about potential side effects reported by pet owners on social media. The injectable drug, made by Zoetis, works by neutralizing nerve growth factor, a protein that plays a role in pain transmission.

While Librela has been shown to be safe and effective in clinical trials, some dog owners have reported concerns about potential side effects such as trouble walking, kidney issues, and other problems. The FDA is reviewing reports of adverse events, and veterinarians emphasize the importance of proper patient selection and monitoring when using the drug.

Why this matters: As the population of aging dogs grows, finding safe and effective treatments for canine arthritis is becoming increasingly important. Librela's introduction offers hope for improving quality of life for many dogs, but the reports of side effects underscore the need for careful monitoring and further study of the drug's safety profile.

Librela has been used to treat dog arthritis in Europe for three years, but the fears about side effects have spread rapidly in the US since the medication's arrival here in 2024. The drug's manufacturer and veterinarians say Librela has been shown to be safe and effective, but factors such as the advanced age and pre-existing health issues of many dogs receiving the drug may explain some of the reported side effects.

Overall, the drug has been widely prescribed in its first year on the US market and has shown largely positive results in reducing arthritis pain and improving mobility for dogs. However, veterinarians caution that the potential for side effects, especially in older dogs with other health problems, means that careful patient selection and close monitoring are essential when using Librela.

The Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights law firm, has announced an investigation of potential securities claims on behalf of shareholders of Zoetis Inc., the manufacturer of Librela. The investigation is in response to a Wall Street Journal article that discussed possible side effects of Librela and Solensia, another Zoetis drug, and stated that health regulators in the U.S. and Europe have received thousands of reports of adverse events related to the drugs.

Dr. Karen Hecht, a veterinarian in New York City, said that while she has prescribed Librela to many of her arthritic patients with good results, she carefully screens dogs before using the drug. "It's a great tool to have, but it's not for every dog," Hecht said. "We have to consider each case individually and weigh the potential benefits against the risks, especially for older dogs with multiple health issues."

Key Takeaways

  • Librela, a new arthritis drug for dogs, is being widely prescribed despite some reported side effects.
  • The FDA is reviewing reports of adverse events, and vets emphasize careful patient selection and monitoring.
  • Librela has been used in Europe for 3 years, but side effect fears have spread rapidly in the US.
  • Rosen Law Firm is investigating potential securities claims against Zoetis, Librela's manufacturer, due to adverse events.
  • Vets say Librela is a "great tool" but not for every dog, especially older dogs with health issues.