Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica is adding a boxed warning about use of Metacam in cats to the product's labeling. Metacam is the company's brand-name version of meloxicam, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
The boxed warning reads as follows: "Repeated use of meloxicam in cats has been associated with acute renal failure and death. Do not administer additional doses of injectable or oral meloxicam to cats. See Contraindications, Warnings and Precautions for detailed information."
On Sept. 17, Boehringer Ingelheim sent a "dear doctor" letter alerting veterinarians to the boxed warning appearing on package inserts for Metacam solution for injection and Metacam oral suspension.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Metacam solution for injection in dogs and cats and has approved the use of Metacam oral suspension in dogs, but not cats. According to Boehringer Ingelheim, reports from the past five years indicate adverse events occurring in cats following use of Metacam oral suspension.
Boehringer Ingelheim and the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine agreed that the company would provide new information regarding feline safety on Metacam product labeling.
The "dear doctor" letter states that the new warning does not affect one-time use of Metacam solution for injection in cats prior to surgeries such as orthopedic procedures, ovariohysterectomy, or castration.
Along with the boxed warning, Boehringer Ingelheim has provided additional information regarding feline safety on Metacam package inserts.
Veterinarians can call Boehringer Ingelheim's Veterinary Technical Services at (866) 638-2226 with questions.
Update October 27, 2010: The FDA issued a press release announcing the addition of the boxed warning to help inform veterinarians of the serious risks associated with the extra-label use of meloxicam in cats.