Mexitil shortage causes concern for veterinarians

Mexitil shortage causes concern for veterinarians

Unless their dog has a heart condition most pet owners have probably never heard of the drug Mexitil mexiletine hydrocholride. This drug is an antiarrhythmic agent often prescribed for canines who have been diagnosed with irregular heartbeats ventricular arrhythmias.For those pet owners who do give their dog Mexitil, veterinarians have recently began noticing a potential problem as reports have started surfacing that Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals BI has stopped producing the drug. While for now a generic version is still currently being manufactured by Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, that supply appears to be dwindling as well.There has been no official word from these companies as to why production is stopping or slowing down, but the reason suspected is that there just isn much need for this type of drug anymore, at least not for human treatment anyway.Once popular for heart patients the use of mexiletine hydrocholride has decreased over time as implantable cardioverter defibrillators have gained favor over doctors prescribing oral medications. One primary reason for the discontinued use in humans is that these very drugs being used to treat irregular heartbeats were sometimes having a bad reputation for actually causing them. Better known as proarrhythmic, a possible side effect of the drug in which new arrhythmias would occur.While the use of implantable cardioverter defibrillators has become the new treatment of choice for humans, the high costs, technical issues and other factors involved have made the defibrillators less than an ideal treatment option for animals. For this reason Mexitil still remains the popular drug of choice for canines even as the need for the human drug dwindles.The question then becomes what should a pet owner do? The first step is to discuss the matter with your veterinarian to find out what other drug choices may be out there in the event this drug is discontinued. Stay informed and do research now about what other options there may be if needed. Together you and your veterinarian can evaluate potential setbacks before they occur and work out a plan now that ensures the continued safe treatment of your pet before any problems with possible shortages can occur.