The Food and Drug Administration on May 24 announced its approval of Semintra—telmisartan oral solution—the first FDA-approved animal drug to control systemic hypertension in cats.
Semintra, which has been available in Europe since 2013, was originally developed by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica to help reduce the amount of protein lost in feline urine.
Systemic hypertension occurs most commonly in cats with chronic kidney disease but can also develop in cats with no identifiable underlying cause, or along with other chronic disease conditions. When left untreated, hypertension can cause damage to the eyes, kidneys, heart, brain, and CNS.
Telmisartan, the active ingredient in Semintra, blocks angiotensin II receptors.
Semintra is an oral solution administered either directly into a cat's mouth or on top of a small amount of food. Semintra is initially given twice a day for the first 14 days at 1.5 mg/kg (0.7 mg/lb) and then decreased to once a day at 2.0 mg/kg (0.9 mg/lb).
The FDA advises prescribing veterinarians to monitor the cat's blood pressure regularly and adjust the dose as needed to maintain the blood pressure at the optimal level for the feline patient. Cats that have chronic kidney disease should be monitored early in treatment for potential changes in kidney values.
The agency also recommends that when starting treatment, cats should be monitored for the development of anemia and changes in appetite and for adverse effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, or weight loss.
Semintra is a prescription product because veterinary expertise is necessary to diagnose and treat hypertension and monitor the effects of treatment.
Pregnant women should avoid any contact with Semintra because similar drugs have been found to harm the fetus, according to the FDA.