The few drugs that are FDA-approved for feline pain management are not approved for long-term use, often leaving the general practitioner to rely on extralabel drug use for effective chronic pain control.
So why isn’t there an on-label solution for pain control in cats? In order for a drug to receive FDA-approval, it needs to be backed by solid safety and efficacy data, says Sheilah Robertson, BVMS, PhD, MCVS, CVA, DACVA, DECVA. And veterinary researchers currently don’t have a good, validated way to measure efficacy of long-term pain control in cats. Progress is certainly being made in this effort, but it may be some time before veterinarians see an effective FDA-approved solution for chronic pain control in our feline friends.
FDA-approved drugs for pain, short-term control in cats
Meloxicam: COX-2 preferential NSAID; pain following ovariohysterectomy and other minor soft tissue surgery
Robenicoxib: (tablet form only) COX-2 selective NSAID; pain and inflammation associated with chronic musculoskeletal conditions
Butorphanol: opiod agonist; pain from trauma and surgical procedures