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28-06-2011 | Article

Firocoxib shows long-term safety, efficacy in dogs with osteoarthritis


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MedWire News: Firocoxib offers good long-term tolerability and efficacy when used to treat osteoarthritis in dogs, research shows.

In the study, symptoms improved in more than four out of five dogs after just 2 weeks of firocoxib treatment, and the incidence of gastrointestinal side effects was low, at around 5%.

Firocoxib is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that was developed specifically for veterinary use. It is highly selective for cyclo-oxygenase-2 and has been extensively evaluated for efficacy in the management of canine osteoarthritis.

In this study, André Autefage (Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Toulouse, France) and co-authors sought to establish the long-term efficacy and safety of the drug. A total of 39 client-owned dogs with a diagnosis of osteoarthritis were given firocoxib 5 mg/kg, administered orally once daily, for 52 weeks.

The rate of withdrawals due to gastrointestinal side effects was 5.1%, report Autefage et al. Treatment-related side effects included high creatinine levels, a fatal duodenal perforating ulcer after accidental administration of a double dose, and diarrhea.

Among the 25 dogs that completed the full course of treatment, 82% were considered by their owners to have improved at day 15. This figure rose to 84% at day 90 and 96% at day 360.

Specific domains that improved during the study period included lameness, pain, range of motion, and overall function. Radiographic scores did not change during treatment, however.

Writing in the journal Veterinary Record, the researchers note: "There were favorable responses to firocoxib treatment on the basis of the owners' and investigators' assessments."

"Thus, it seems reasonable to prescribe over 1 year for the treatment of chronic pain related to osteoarthritis in dogs. However, the treatment should be accompanied by regular follow-up of clinical and biochemical evaluations."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Joanna Lyford