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Carprofen (Rimadyl®, Novox®)

By: Dr. Mark Papich

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  • Carprofen is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic drug.
  • Carprofen belongs to the general class of drugs known as
    [[rol||nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs|A group of drugs, roughly related to aspirin and ibuprofen, which work by inhibiting the formation of particular chemicals in the body (prostaglandins). The NSAID's are effective in reducing pain, inflammation, and fever, but carry the risk of causing stomach ulcers, liver injury and kidney damage in animals.]] (NSAIDs). Other related drugs include ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen.
  • These drugs suppress inflammation and pain by inhibiting synthesis of the class of compounds called prostaglandins.
  • Carprofen is unique compared to other NSAIDs in that it may also act by other mechanisms.
  • Carprofen is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in animals only.
  • Human formulations: None
  • Veterinary formulations: Rimadyl® (Pfizer), Novox® (Vedco), and other generics available.
  • Marketed as "Zenecarp" in the U.K.

    Uses of Carprofen

  • Carprofen is used to treat minor pain, inflammation and conditions such as chronic arthritis. Carprofen is also used for use in the treatment of postoperative pain associated with soft tissue and orthopedic surgeries in dogs.
  • Use in cats is very limited and requires greater study.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, carprofen can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Carprofen should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Cats are particularly sensitive to carprofen.
  • Carprofen may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with carprofen. Such drugs include aspirin and corticosteroids. There is an increased risk of NSAID-related problems such as bleeding or ulcers if other NSAIDs or cortisone-like drugs are given at the same time.
  • Carprofen has generally been a very safe drug in dogs. There have been occasional reports of stomach upset, ulcers, or diarrhea associated with giving carprofen to dogs.
  • More serious problems associated with carprofen include stomach ulcers, liver injury, and urinary tract problems. Other rare side effects include blood cell suppression and seizures.
  • Many veterinarians recommend monitoring blood tests periodically to identify potential side effects of this drug.

    How Carprofen Is Supplied

  • Carprofen is available in 25 mg, 75 mg and 100 mg chewable tablets and caplets.
  • Carprofen is also available as an injectable form concentrated at 50 mg/ml.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • The typical oral dose administered to dogs is 1 mg per pound (2.2 mg/kg) every 12 hours orally or 2 mg per pound (4.4 mg/kg) once daily.
  • The recommended injectable dose for initial surgical pain is 1.8 mg per pound (4 mg/kg) intravenously then 1 mg/pound (2.2 mg/kg) by either oral, intravenous, subcutaneous or intramuscular routes repeating in 12 hours if necessary.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse or prevent the development of resistance.

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