In the news this week is that the FDA has required Boehringer-Ingleheim to add a “Black Box” warning to the boxes of Metacam, an anti inflammatory medication. It reads: “Warning. Repeated use of Metacam in cats has been associated with acute renal failure and death. Do not administer additional injectable or oral meloxicam to cats. See contraindications, warnings and precautions for detailed information.” The FDA has asked for this warning due to reports of side effects associated with the product.
I am really interested to read this bit of news today. I have never seen a reaction like this with Metacam. In fact, I have used this medication frequently in a number of species. I have occasionally used it in cats in the manner it is licensed (an injection after surgery) and also in some extra-label ways for pain control that wasn’t responding to other methods. But, I recently decided to stop using Metacam in all of my feline patients.
There is a message board where vets can post questions to other vets (specialists and non specialists) called Veterinary Information Network (VIN). Last week, I was doing some reading on another topic and I came across a discussion on the use of Metacam in cats. I found a few other veterinarians who had used the medication as directed (one injection after surgery) and had seen it cause kidney failure. That was a terrifying idea to me. I decided that the risk of kidney failure is too great to use that medication. When I saw today’s news article, it made me glad I made that decision.
There may be a time where a client and I may decide to use Metacam.. That will happen if that cat’s owner and I have a long discussion about the potential risks and benefits. But, for now, no Metacam for kitties.