FDA Approves First Drug for Systemic Hypertension in Cats

May 24, 2018
American Veterinarian Staff

Available in Europe since 2013, Semintra has now been approved for use in the United States.

Semintra (telmisartan oral solution), marketed by Boehringer Ingelheim and designed to help reduce the amount of protein lost in feline urine, has been available in Europe since 2013. Today, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced US approval of the drug, making Semintra the first FDA-approved drug to control systemic hypertension in cats.

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Systemic hypertension occurs most commonly in cats with chronic kidney disease (CKD) but can also manifest with no identifiable cause. If left untreated, hypertension can damage the eyes, kidneys, heart, brain, and central nervous system.

With a highly targeted mode of action, Semintra provides rapid and reliable reduction in proteinuria in cats with CKD. The drug’s active ingredient is the angiotensin II receptor blocker telmisartan, which reduces blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels.

According to studies, the drug is well tolerated in cats (more than 90%) with its excretion almost exclusively independent of kidney function.

Semintra is dosed twice daily for 14 days at 1.5 mg/kg and then decreased to once daily at 2.0 mg/kg. The oral solution can be administered either directly into the cat’s mouth or on top of a small amount of food.

The FDA mentions a few things for veterinarians to remember when prescribing Semintra:

  • Blood pressure should be monitored regularly and maintained at the optimal level for the cat by adjusting the dose.
  • Cats with CKD should be monitored early in treatment for potential changes in kidney values.
  • When starting treatment, all cats should be monitored for the development of anemia and changes in appetite, as well as for adverse effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss.

Because similar drugs have been found to harm unborn babies during pregnancy, the FDA warns that pregnant women should avoid any contact with Semintra.

For more information, visit the Semintra website.