Ansaid as Topical Painkiller May Pose Risk of Pet Illness, Death: FDA

Federal health regulators are warning pet owners and veterinarians about the risk of severe and potentially life-threatening illnesses animals may face from exposure to even small amounts of the painkiller flurbiprofen, which is the active ingredient in Ansaid and other topical pain medications. 

On April 17, the FDA issued a safety warning, indicating that it has received reports of problems among pets that were exposed to prescription topical pain medications that contain flurbiprofen. The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) is sold under the brand names Ansaid and Froben, and is also used in eye drop form as Ocufen.

According to the safety officials, the FDA has received reports of at least three cat deaths believed to be linked to Ansaid. All three had evidence of NSAID toxicity in their kidneys and intestines. Some other cats have fallen ill and required veterinary care.

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In all of the reported cases, the pet owners applied the topical painkiller to themselves and not directly to their pets. The owners used the painkiller on their necks or feet. It is unknown whether the cats came into contact with the drugs by rubbing on the owners or by somehow gained access to the painkiller via other means.

The FDA warns that it appears even small amounts can be lethal to some pets.

The health agency has issued the following recommendations:

  • Keep all medications out of reach of pets
  • Safely discard or clean any cloth or applicators used to apply medications
  • Ask your doctor if the treated area should be covered
  • If your pet is exposed to Ansaid, clean or bathe your pet thoroughly and consult a veterinarian
  • Seek veterinary care if your pet shows signs of lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting, or other illness
  • Be aware that other animals besides cats can be sensitive to flurbiprofen.

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