FDA approves anemia drug for cats with chronic kidney disease

Published: 9 May 2023


Elanco's Varenzin-CA1 is the first drug for the control of nonregenerative anemia associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in cats for which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted conditional approval, the agency announced May 1. Varenzin-CA1 is available only by prescription from a licensed veterinarian.

CKD is a disease that requires day-to-day management in cats, and nonregenerative anemia is a complication that often contributes to death or euthanasia of affected cats because of poor quality of life. Cats with CKD develop nonregenerative anemia when their kidneys produce less of a hormone called erythropoietin, which helps the bone marrow produce red blood cells.

Current treatments available for nonregenerative anemia in cats with CKD include blood transfusion, supplemental iron therapy, and erythropoietin replacement. However, there are no erythropoietin treatments approved for use in cats. Varenzin-CA1 works by helping to increase production of erythropoietin in the kidney, which in turn stimulates the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells.

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