FDA approved drugs for veterinary use vs off label drugs, with an introduction to Semintra

By November 26, 2018 May 19th, 2020 No Comments

My clients are often surprised when I tell them they can pick up prescriptions for their pet at their local pharmacy.  They usually ask where the ‘pet’ pharmacy is, or they tell me they can’t wait for a prescription to be shipped from an online ‘pet’ pharmacy.  When I explain they will be able to pick up this medication at WalMart, Smith’s, Target or Walgreen’s they are often surprised to hear this.  

Many, if not most, drugs used in veterinary medicine are drugs that were initially discovered and used for human medicine that are being used in an ‘off-label’ manner to treat veterinary patients.  Off label prescribing means the drug is being prescribed by a licensed medical professional but for a purpose that is not specified on the FDA approved label for the drug.  This includes prescribing an antibiotic for your cat that is the same as the one you treated your child’s strep throat or ear infection with.

More and more pharmacies are stocking prescription veterinary medications as well as human medications making it more likely your veterinarian will give you a prescription for your pet to take to the same pharmacy you fill your own prescriptions at.  More and more pharmaceutical companies are also finding it financially viable to invest the millions of dollars that are required to patent and achieve FDA approval for a new drug for animal use which is giving veterinarians new options for treating their patients better than ever before.

Semintra is an excellent example of this.  Semintra is the brand name for a drug with the generic name of telmisartan 1, which acts to reduce high blood pressure and thus reduce the loss of blood proteins through the kidneys in cats with chronic kidney disease, which is one of the leading causes of death in cats.  The drug was developed, and is being marketed by Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical company founded in Germany.  

As a veterinarian it is exciting for me to see drugs like this coming to the market and to anticipate the benefits they will provide.  However, these benefits literally do come with a price.  The research and development of drugs and safely bringing them to the market is expensive and time consuming.  Which often makes the drugs themselves expensive.  

As your veterinarian A Caring Vet Hospital is committed to providing the best care possible.  Unfortunately price sometimes gets in the way.  We do everything we can to keep prices reasonable, but it is a simple fact that good medical care isn’t cheap, and cheap medical isn’t good whether you are talking about people, or animals.  If you are having difficulty with paying for the costs of your pet’s medical care please feel free to discuss this with us.  We are here to help and can offer a wide variety of options to make your furry loved ones’ care easier to pay for.

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