Petlearnia

Solensia

Solensia for cats

Formulation

Injection

Active ingredient

Frunevetmab

Category

Pain relief

What is Solensia?

Solensia is the brand name for a cat-specific monoclonal antibody called frunevetmab. It binds to nerve growth factor, which work as part of the body’s pain signals, preventing the signals from working.

Solensia comes as a solution and is given by an injection under the skin, once a month. Solensia is commonly given to treat pain associated with osteoarthritis in cats.

What does Solensia do?

The active ingredient in Solensia is a feline monoclonal antibody called frunevetmab. It is not a drug in the traditional sense, but a protein. Frunevetmab works by targeting a substance called nerve growth factor (NGF). Normally, NGF binds to receptors on nerve endings and helps to transmit pain signals. Frunevetmab binds to NGF and blocks the ability of NGF to bind to its receptors, therefore stopping the transmission of pain signals along the nerve. Reducing your cat’s pain will help to improve their mobility and well-being. 

What is Solensia for?

Solensia is primarily used to treat pain associated with osteoarthritis in cats. There may be several reasons why your cat has developed arthritis, these may include:

  • Degenerative joint disorders e.g. hip dysplasia
  • Previous bone fracture
  • Joint infection
  • Joint trauma e.g. Joint dislocation
  • Ageing
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Obesity

It is important to note that Solensia will not cure arthritis, or the conditions listed above. Solensia simply targets the pain associated with arthritis. Different medications will need to be used to treat the inflammation in arthritis.

What are the side effects of Solensia?

Whilst most pets tolerate Solensia without any issues, it can have side effects just like all other medications. Although these side effects are uncommon, here are the ones that you should be aware of:

  • Localised skin reaction (hair loss and inflammation of the skin) – common (1-10/100)
  • Injection site reaction (mild pain and hair loss) – rare (1-10/10,000)
  • Anaphylaxis – very rare (less than 1/10,000)
  • No response to treatment

There are also some post-release observations that Solensia’s sister drug, Librela for dogs, causes excessive drinking, excessive urinating, and potentially worsens neurological problems which may be underlying. These side effects are under investigation, and it’s possible that they will be seen in cats too. If found to be genuine side effects, the datasheet (and this article!) will be changed to reflect this.

Remember, the benefits of using Solensia usually outweigh these risks, especially in pets with severe osteoarthritis. It has been extremely useful for many cats. However, if you do notice any side effects you think may be related to Solensia you should get in touch with your vet for advice. They will be able to provide you with guidance and adjust the treatment plan if necessary, as well as report the side effect to be investigated.

Which pets is Solensia not suitable for?

Whilst Solensia is suitable for most pets, there are a few situations where it should be avoided or used with extra caution. Where Solensia should be avoided, alternatives should be discussed with your vet.

  • Solensia should not be given to cats that are allergic to any of the ingredients.
  • Solensia should not be used in cats under 12 months old, as they need their Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) for growing!
  • Solensia should not be used in cats that weigh less than 2.5 kg.
  • Solensia should not be used in pregnant or lactating cats.
  • Solensia should not be used in breeding cats.
  • Solensia use should be based on a benefit-risk assessment for cats with stage 3 + 4 CKD.
  • Solensia may not be suitable for cats with underlying neurological conditions

An alternative treatment should be considered if there is no response to Solensia.

How to give Solensia safely:

  1. Solensia is not available for you to give at home: Solensia must be prescribed and administered by your veterinarian (or sometimes a nurse) at a veterinary practice. Solensia is given through an injection, which involves handling needles. If your vat cannot attend the vets due to stress, there may be an option for a district veterinary nurse or home visit vet to give the Solensia at your home – you can talk to your vet about this option.
  2. Monitor for side effects: The side effects of Solensia are uncommon. If you are concerned about a change in your cat’s behaviour or health status, notify your vet immediately. Keeping a diary of their behaviour can help to spot any changes.
  3. If administering a vaccine at the same time, ensure Solensia is administered at a different site. Your vet should do this, but if your cat has recently been vaccinated by another vet (within 2 days) make sure to let your new vet know. This can reduce the risk of local reactions.
  4. Check with your vet if giving anything else: Your vet should be aware of other drugs your pet is on, but it’s always worth double-checking in case there’s been a miscommunication somewhere. If your cat is on supplements or non-prescription treatments, you should also tell your vet when they prescribe Solensia.

How much monitoring do pets need on Solensia?

  • High monitoring need

    Low

    Most pets will not require any special monitoring while on Solensia.

Cats on Solensia don’t need any special monitoring, just the usual check-ups associated with their condition.

What does Solensia cost?

  • pound

    £££ – Expensive

    Solensia costs around £60-90 per injection, which is repeated every 4 weeks.

Solensia is given by injection, so it’s not something you can buy online. While a single injection is fairly expensive at £60-90, it’s important to remember this lasts 4 weeks. The exact cost may depend on your area and your cat’s size, as well as whether they’ve been recently checked by a vet.

Solensia FAQs

How quickly does Solensia work in cats?

In most cats, Solensia should work within 6 days. One study showed that 2 doses were required to achieve a steady and effective response. If you think Solensia is not working for your cat, contact your vet to discuss the alternatives.

What is the risk of Solensia?

The main risk associated with Solensia use is a local skin reaction. This may present as hair loss, itching and skin inflammation. This side effect is common but is usually mild and resolves within a few days. The most severe risk associated with Solensia use is anaphylaxis, but this is very rare. For more information, see the Side Effects of Solensia section.

What is the success rate of Solensia?

One study has shown a success rate of 80% for Solensia use in cats. Some cats will not respond to treatment. If this is the case for your cat, contact your vet for alternative treatment options.

Can I inject Solensia at home?

You cannot inject Solensia at home. You must take your cat to the vet for their Solensia injection. During your visit, they will also assess your cat’s pain levels and monitor their health for any changes.

Does Solensia make cats hungry?

Solensia will not directly make your cat hungrier. If Solensia is working, their mobility should improve. In this case, they may use up more energy and their appetite could increase as a result.

What are the alternatives to Solensia?

The only formulation available for Solensia is a solution for injection. If your cat struggles to cope with having monthly injections, there are other drugs with different formulations available to treat pain associated with osteoarthritis. Your vet might recommend:

Some important treatment options can be used alongside veterinary medication to help manage pain associated with osteoarthritis:

  • Environmental modifications e.g. Providing ramps and non-slip flooring
  • Physical therapies e.g. Hydrotherapy
  • Weight management
  • Nutraceuticals

We cover these in more detail in our Feline Arthritis course, coming soon.

It is important to remember that you will not be able to buy any veterinary medications for your cat over a non-veterinary counter! You will have to go back to your vet to discuss the other options, where you can both decide what is the next best thing for your pet to keep them happy and comfortable.

Solensia Datasheet

All drugs have a manufacturer’s datasheet, which gives information about the drug’s use and possible side effects. You can click the button below to be taken to an online version.


Please note that the information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only. Although it has been written by a vet, we cannot consider the individual nature of your pet’s problems so it does not constitute veterinary advice. If you have questions about your pet’s medication or their health you should contact a vet, who will be able to help.