FDA Approves Solensia to Control Osteoarthritis Pain in Cats


The drug is the first and only injectable monoclonal antibody treatment for feline OA approved in the United States.

The FDA has approved a frunevetmab injection Solensia from Zoetis, Inc to control the pain of osteoarthritis (OA) in cats, helping improve their comfort, mobility, and overall well-being, the company said in a statement.

Solensia is a once-a-month injection for administration in veterinarian clinics.

Feline OA, a highly prevalent condition with nearly 40% of all cats showing signs of related pain,occurs when the protective tissue in the joints, or cartilage, is worn down, causing bones to rub together. This causes severe pain and makes moving harder. Without treatment, OA pain can worsen over time and seriously affect a cat’s long-term health and well-being.

The results of clinical studies, show that OA was detected in 60% of cats older than aged 6 years and 90% of cats older than aged 12 years.

“Feline OA pain is typically undertreated because of a lack of effective solutions that are safe to use long term, along with how difficult it can be for cat owners to administer oral medicines,” Mike McFarland, DVM, chief medical officer at Zoetis, said in a statement.

“The approval of Solensia is a significant step forward in the control of feline OA pain. Cat owners and veterinarians alike can feel confident that Solensia, with active substance frunevetmab, a monoclonal antibody designed specifically for felines, has been studied and demonstrated to control OA pain and help cats get back to moving more freely again,” he said.

Solensia targets nerve growth factor (NGF), a key driver of OA pain. NGF activates and perpetuates the pain signal by increasing the release of additional pain and inflammation mediators.

By targeting NGF, the injection reduces pain signals to control OA pain.

Approximately 77% of cat owners saw improvement in signs of pain when their cats were treated monthly with the injection in a 3-month study, while 67% of cat owners experienced improvement in signs of their cat’s pain in the placebo group.

“While feline osteoarthritis isn’t curable, the pain from osteoarthritis can be effectively managed,” Margaret Gruen, DVM, MVPH, PhD, DACVB, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at North Carolina State University, said in the statement.

“Pain is the primary experience of osteoarthritis, and when left untreated, it becomes its own disease state, in part due to the action of NGF, which makes anti-NGF therapy such a game-changing advancement in the management of OA pain. For cat owners, knowing your cat’s OA pain is well controlled with an easily administered monthly treatment can be a tremendous relief,” Gruen said.

Solensia’s common adverse events are injection pain site and vomiting.

Solensia, which is approved in the European Union and has been available to veterinarians there since May 2021, will be available to veterinarians in the United States in the second half of 2022.


Zoetis announces FDA approval of Solensia (frunevetmab injection) to control osteoarthritis pain in cats. Business Wire. News release. January 13, 2022. Accessed January 14, 2022. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220113005764/en

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