Recent FDA approval of a heartworm medication, Diroban provides more cost-effective options for owners trying to treat a deadly condition
In February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the approval of the first generic drug to treat heartworm disease in canines, Diroban. We are excited about this new development at Compounding Pharmacy of America, because it’s a cost-effective option.
A parasitic worm that looks like a piece of thread causes heartworm disease. Though tiny, these parasites can be deadly. They live in the lungs, heart, and major blood vessels after entering a dog’s body.
Untreated, heartworm disease can cause severe lung complications, organ damage, and heart failure. It’s almost impossible to prevent, because the disease spreads through the bite of an infected mosquito.
How Does Diroban Work?
Diroban is administered by deep intramuscular injection into the muscles of a heartworm infected dog’s back. Veterinarians use it to treat dogs throughout the disease, from no symptoms to severe respiratory symptoms, such as lung congestion and vomiting.
However, if your dog is showing extreme respiratory symptoms, it may not be the best course. Discuss options with your veterinarian.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
Your pet may feel some side effects accompanied by pain, swelling, or tenderness at the injection site as well as decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, coughing, and fever. Vets can have other medications mixed with Diroban to relieve some of these symptoms.
You must closely monitor your pets throughout the entire course of treatment.
If your vet prescribes Diroban for your pet, restrict its physical activity until the entire course of treatment is complete.
It can be a challenge to keep energetic dog still, so your veterinarian may advise kenneling your dog and restricting walks.
Keep curtains and blinds closed, as even barking at things outdoors could prove too taxing. Offer time-consuming food and treats to keep your dog occupied.
Are Preventive Options Available?
Six months after your pet’s last Diroban injection, your veterinarian will do a final test and declare your pet heartworm free.
This is the perfect time to discuss preventive options with your vet – a compounding pharmacy can mix preventives with other meds your pet takes.
Can I Administer The Treatment?
Diroban should be administered by a licensed veterinarian. Expertise is necessary to diagnose the severity of your pet’s condition and approve the proper dosage. It is also important to avoid human exposure to Diruban and avoid superficial injections.
The treatment might be uncomfortable, so it’s your job to keep them happy and comfortable during their recovery.
Why Can’t My Dog Exercise?
We think of exercise as a good thing, but not when a dog has heartworms. Since these parasites live in the blood vessels around the heart and lungs, activity during treatment can cause a deadly condition called pulmonary embolism, or blood clots in the lungs. It’s best to keep pets calm and as immobile as possible.
Chief Operating Officer, The Compounding Pharmacy of America
Matthew Poteet, Pharm.D. graduated with Honors from Lee University with a Bachelors of Science in Biological Science. After his undergraduate training, he completed the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy, graduating in 2004. Dr. Poteet has spent much of his pharmacy career on staff at two of the most prestigious academic teaching hospitals in the Southeast; Emory University in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. At these institutions he received extensive experience and training in sterile products compounding.
He returned home to East Tennessee in 2010, where he has held the position of Pharmacy Director at two sterile products pharmacies in Knoxville. Matthew lives in Knoxville with his wife, Chris. Dr. Poteet is Tennessee’s first Board Certified Anti-Aging Pharmacist by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.