Dog Anti-Itch Medication Faces Shortage Until 2015
The new canine anti-itch drug, Apoquel, is in such high demand and short supply that some veterinarians are unable to prescribe it.
Ken Niedziela |
Posted: May 28, 2014, 12 p.m. PST
Less than a year after being introduced to U.S. markets, manufacturer Zoetis Inc., of Florham Park, N.J., announced that there will be a shortage of Apoquel due to high demand.
Apoquel, an anti-itch medication for dogs, is given twice a day for the control of itching associated with allergic dermatitis and the control of clinical manifestations of atopic dermatitis. A clinical trial of dogs suffering from allergic dermatitis found that the drug was effective within 24 hours.
The drug’s success–Apoquel may be given once a day for maintenance purposes after two weeks–has dog owners and veterinarians eager to try the medication. But some practitioners, like Dr. Tim Hunt of Bayshore Veterinary Hospital in Marquette, Mich., can’t get their hands on it.
"I would like to try Apoquel, as all the info seems to be glowing, but have been unable to get any,” Dr. Hunt says. "I have clients asking often about this drug but have not been able to personally prescribe any to date.”
The demand and a "complex, time-consuming manufacturing process” mean the drug cannot be produced fast enough, said Steve Leder, senior vice president of Zoetis’ U.S. Companion Animal Division.
"Since the launch ... on Jan. 20, Zoetis has experienced a significantly higher than anticipated volume of orders due to extremely high veterinary community demand for this innovative new medicine,” Leder said.
Zoetis is rejecting orders from new customers as it works to accelerate production. The shortage is expected to continue until mid-2015.
"Our top priority continues to be to ensure that patients currently being treated with Apoquel can continue to receive the product without interruption,” Leder says.
"Zoetis is aggressively working to make Apoquel available to all dogs that need it, and we appreciate your patience as we work through this situation.”
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