very much for creating
www.metacamkills.com, and my condolences to you for PB's tragic
circumstances. I hope he pulls through, and send my heartfelt wishes for his
You see, my
precious Zabine (a six-year-old Persian cat) died a year ago after a Metacam
injection followed by a single oral dose. Two pathologists guessed that it
was a viral infection (probably feline panleukopenia, FPV), but neither
performed any tests to support their conclusions -- and ignored the fact
that I supplied an unbroken record of FPV vaccination certificates dating
back to when Sabine was eight weeks old. Neither pathologist mentioned the
role of Metacam in Zabine's death, even through the gastrointestinal damage
and low white blood cell count were strikingly similar to those described in
the clinical tests filed with EMEA and the FDA a few years ago. I had to
threaten the second pathologist with disciplinary action before he would
even discuss his report with me; his assistant told me that he had been
ordered by the drug company (who paid for the pathology report) not to
communicate with me.
note: You won't get much useful information regarding cats by reading the
literature about Metacam Oral -- it's only approved for dogs, so no mention
is made of cats except "do not use in cats." However, Metacam Solution for
Injection is approved for one-time use in cats, and its literature
has much more interesting information regarding cats, especially
regarding repeated doses.]
I've been researching statements made
by my vet and several others, and it's pretty scary how misinformed
veterinary "professionals" can be.
See "Frequently Heard Statements About Metacam" PDF document.
Approval Status. In "P.B.'s story" you write that you were informed
that Metacam "was in use in Canada and was awaiting approval here in the
states." Well, here in Canada, Metacam Oral is NOT approved for cats (in
fact, it's not approved nor pending approval for cats anywhere in the
world), although some vets do use it. If you search the FDA website, you
will not find any pending applications for Metacam Oral; it is certainly not
"awaiting approval" for any species. Ironically, in Canada some vets tell me
that "it's been used in Europe for ten years" (perhaps for humans, but
certainly not for cats). This bull--it is obviously not confined to the USA.
Warnings for Human Use. Boehringer-Ingelheim also markets meloxicam
(the active ingredient in Metacam) for human use, under the trade name Mobic.
Another useful piece of information to post is the prescribing
information for Mobic, which contains mandatory four-page client information
sheet at the end of the document which must be handed to
the patient along with the prescription:
box" warnings were issued in August 2005 (and possibly earlier, but I can't
be certain); this link is to the most recent (July 2006) version on the
MedWatch section of the FDA website.
this document (and considering that cats are much more sensitive to most
drugs than humans and dogs), the first question that comes to mind is "so
why doesn't the FDA require vets to hand out a similar warning sheet when
Metacam is prescribed for cats?" The answer is simple: the FDA has not
approved repeated doses of Metacam for cats, and mandating a warning would
constitute a tacit form of approval in cats.
logical question would be "if there are such serious risks in humans, why
don't vets themselves inform their clients of those risks?" That's a tough
one to answer accurately; I can only say that my vet insists that Metacam is
"safe" (but clearly does not understand the implications of a narrow margin
of safety in cats, as described in the Yahoo Answer referenced earlier), and
that there's a powerful financial motivation, described next.
Financial Motivation. My vet invoice (now totaling over C$3,000,
which is why I'm going to court over this) shows a charge of C$22.50 (about
US$20) for a prescription of four 0.4 mg doses of Metacam (a total of 1.6 mg
of the active ingredient meloxicam). Let's do some simple
math: US$20 divided by 0.0016 grams = US$12,500 per gram. By comparison, the
black-market street price of heroin and cocaine is US$130/gram (adjusted for
purity). My vet sells Metacam for one hundred times the black-market price
I hope you
can use this information (slightly reformatted to protect my anonymity; no
mention of Zabine's real name for the time being, please) in your efforts to
educate people regarding the risks of Metacam in cats. My very best wishes
to you and PB, and I sincerely hope he makes it through this ordeal.