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13 March 2012 Boxmeer (The Netherlands)

Merck Animal Health Extends Its Endocrine Portfolio With VIDALTA

BOXMEER (The Netherlands), March 13, 2012 - Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the USA and Canada) today announces the wider European introduction of VIDALTA® (prolonged-release carbimazole tablets) for the treatment of feline hyperthyroidism.

The company, the global leader in veterinary endocrinology, already launched VIDALTA in 2008 in the United Kingdom. After successfully completing a Mutual Recognition Procedure in October 2011, Merck Animal Health is expanding the geographical coverage of this product by introducing VIDALTA throughout Europe. VIDALTA is the first and only once-daily tablet for starting treatment of feline hyperthyroidism and treatment can be continued once daily or even every other day as required. As part of the Merck Animal Health portfolio of endocrine products, VIDALTA brings convenience to the treatment of hyperthyroid cats. “VIDALTA is a key addition to our already extensive endocrine range”, says Nicolas Renard, DVM and global marketing director of companion animal pharmaceuticals at Merck Animal Health. “VIDALTA will help to solve one of the main challenges in the medical treatment of hyperthyroid cats as it is known that they are not the easiest to medicate. The once-daily, prolonged-release formulation is thought to offer improved convenience for the cat owner.”

Prolonged release formulation for genuine once daily dosing
VIDALTA is the first prolonged-release formulation of carbimazole. It can help to improve owner compliance by offering a viable long-term medical treatment alternative to surgery. The once daily treatment regime for VIDALTA reduces cat and owner stress and improves compliance, reduces elevated thyroxine (also known as T4) and leads to better control of the clinical signs of hyperthyroidism.

Rapid action and long term efficacy and safety
VIDALTA results in rapid normalization of thyroxine and resolution of clinical signs of hyperthyroidism. Thyroxine may decrease back into the normal range in as little as 10 days after the start of treatment. In addition, clinical signs improved or resolved in almost all of the cats within a few weeks after starting treatment and remained stable thereafter. Adverse reactions were generally mild and transient and included gastrointestinal signs and alterations in clinical chemistry and hematology, such as increased urea and changes in white blood cell count. The success of this once daily treatment regime has been demonstrated in long-term clinical trials.* VIDALTA’s prolonged-release profile prevents pronounced peaks of the active metabolite, methimazole. Moreover the effects of methimazole are reversible and repeated dosing does not result in accumulation.
“Medical hyperthyroidism treatment available up until now was conventional tablets that had to be administered orally two or three times daily. As cats can be difficult to pill, reduction of the dosing frequency to once or even every other day (during maintenance) – as is possible with this new prolonged-release formulation – may have contributed to the good ease of administration reported by the cat owners in our studies”, explains Dr. Linda Horspool, BVMS, PhD, DipECVPT, MRCVS, global technical director of pharmaceuticals and parasiticides for companion animals at Merck Animal Health.

Solutions in veterinary endocrinology
“With VIDALTA, we bring an additional treatment choice to the veterinarian and complements its extensive range of solutions in veterinary endocrinology”, says Nicolas Renard. “Moreover, veterinarians can expect full technical support from Merck Animal Health in the management of feline hyperthyroidism”.
Hyperthyroidism is one of the most common hormonal conditions in cats. The main clinical signs include weight loss, restlessness, depression and apathy and aggression. The disease is common in middle-aged to older cats, without sex or breed predisposition. It requires either surgery, radiotherapy or life-long medical treatment, which has to be given on a regular basis. Today, cat owners expect their veterinarians to provide an effective and convenient treatment whenever their animal’s condition is compromised.

* Frénais R, Rosenberg D, Burgaud S, Horspool LJI. Clinical efficacy and safety of a once-daily formulation of carbimazole in cats with hyperthyroidism. J Small Animal Practice 2009;50:510-515.