Do you have a dog with arthritis? If you do, or even if you have a dog that just seems to be “slowing down,” you are going to love the news we have about a new medication available!
The veterinary world is very excited about a brand-new class of medication that has been developed to treat osteoarthritis in dogs, called Galliprant.
A Brief History of Arthritis Medications for Dogs
NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have long been a first line medication for relieving pain and inflammation. Many of you have used these medications, such as carprofen (Rimadyl), or Metacam. These medications work in a similar fashion to our common human NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, Aleve and our older NSAID, aspirin.
Before we had NSAIDs, our best anti-inflammatories were steroids. Although steroids still play an important role in medicine, they are not ideal for treating most joint pain and inflammation, simply due to their side effects.
Although NSAIDs have fewer side effects than steroids, they can still have potential undesirable effects. The most common side effects are gastrointestinal (vomiting, diarrhea and possibly ulcers) and renal (kidney damage due to decreased blood flow to the kidneys).
In developing a new medication, the challenge was to create a product that alleviated the problem without having any other side effects. Research focused on finding a more specific target for a drug, so that it would have all of the positive effects against inflammation and pain, with none of the negative effects.
How Galliprant Works
Because Galliprant is so specific in targeting an area that blocks only pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, it is not classified as an NSAID. It is the first drug (for humans or animals) in a new class called piprants. (For more pharmacology or biochemistry-minded people, this is a non-COX-inhibiting prostaglandin receptor antagonist.)
Galliprant, or grapiprant, is available in a once-daily tablet form for dogs as young as nine months old. Safety studies showed no significant negative health impact—even when given at 15 times the recommended dose for nine months.
The most common side effect noted was vomiting, but it was mild and short-lived and did not affect appetite or overall demeanor of the dog. Soft stool was another noted side effect.
Galliprant will begin to work shortly after it is given, but signs/symptoms continue to improve for four weeks after the first daily dose.
Currently, Galliprant is not labeled for use with NSAIDs or steroids. If you are interested in trying it for your dog that is currently on an NSAID, such as carprofen or Metacam, we will discuss a “wash-out” period where we discontinue the NSAID for 3-7 days before beginning Galliprant. If another pain medication is needed, we can prescribe something to help your dog through this period.
Because Galliprant is able to better target pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, without having the typical negative side effects of NSAIDs, this may be an ideal anti-inflammatory for dogs that do not tolerate NSAIDs well, or for those with kidney disease.