FDA Approves Monoclonal Antibody to Treat Arthritis in Cats

Thursday, January 13, 2022 – Arthritis can prevent a cat from doing many of the things that kitties love to do. But there is hope now: The first treatment to relieve arthritis pain in cats has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Solensia (frunevetmab injection) is the first monoclonal antibody drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in any type of animal. A monoclonal antibody is a type of protein.

The active ingredient in Solensia is frunevetmab, a cat-specific monoclonal antibody that binds to a protein called nerve growth factor (NGF) that is involved in pain regulation. The Food and Drug Administration explained that when frunevetmab binds to NGF, it blocks the pain signal from reaching the brain.

Dr. Stephen Solomon, Director, said: “Treatment options for cats with osteoporosis are very limited. Advances in modern veterinary medicine have been instrumental in extending the lifespan of many animals, including cats. But with longer life comes chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis.” . From the Center for Veterinary Medicine of the Food and Drug Administration.

Solensia, marketed by Zoetis, Inc. Available only with a prescription from a licensed veterinarian. It is given by injection once a month and the dosage is based on the cat’s weight.

“Today’s approval represents the first treatment option to help provide relief to cats suffering from this condition and may significantly improve their quality of life,” Solomon said in an agency news release. He said the agency also hopes this approval will expand research and development for other monoclonal antibody products to treat animal diseases.

The FDA’s approval of Solensia is based on two studies in which veterinarians evaluated cats before and after treatment, and owners reported their cats’ ability to perform activities such as jumping on furniture, using a litter box, or grooming themselves.

In general, cats who received Solensia performed better than those who did not receive the drug.

The most common side effects seen in cats treated with Solensia included vomiting, diarrhea, injection site pain, crusting on the head and neck, dermatitis, and itchy skin. The FDA said these effects were relatively mild and did not require discontinuation of treatment.


  • US Food and Drug Administration, Press Release, January 13, 2022

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