RUTHERFORD, NJ – A visit to the vet changed the life of a New Jersey woman and her dog.
In November, a veterinarian recommended Tugba Aksoy to have her dog Lokum Switch from his flea and tick collar to Simparica, a newer class of prescription flea and tick medications. Lokum seemed pleased with his collar, but the idea of a monthly pill sounded like a good idea. Aksoy decided to change.
That night she heard Lokum howling. It turned out he had a seizure. She took him to the emergency room at an animal clinic, where a veterinarian reported that Lokum's seizure was probably caused by the new drug.
He had seizures for months, sometimes even eleven in a row.
In April, Aksoy released a video of Lokum with seizures. Nearly 22 million people have seen it. She said she posted it on YouTube and Facebook so others would know.
"I wanted to warn everyone because everyone can be in my situation," she said. "I trusted the vet. I did not do my own research. I think we are naive enough to think that it is absolutely safe to get it from the vet unless they say something. "
Simparica, Nexgard, Bravecto and Credelio are all drugs in the isoxazoline class. They attack the neurological systems that bite fleas and tickets and kill them. While sales have skyrocketed over the last five years they've been on the market, information about some worrying side effects has become known.
Through the Freedom of Information Act, WPIX received hundreds of pages of reports sent to Food and Exchange Drug use by veterinarians and pet owners was worrisome about drug side effects.
Seizures were at the top of the list. In documents, 1
The manufacturers stated that the risk of side effects is rare, less than one in 10,000 doses sold. Seizures are mentioned as a possible side effect, but the information is not always easy to find. In September last year, the FDA sent a warning message to animal owners and veterinarians "that there may be neurological side effects from treatment with isoxazoline-class drugs in dogs and cats".
The Authority Requested New Labeling:
"The FDA is working with manufacturers of isoxazoline products to include new labeling information to highlight neurological events, as these events have been consistently observed across the entire isoxazoline product class. Revolution Plus, recently approved, includes the new labeling information to highlight the potential for neurological events in the isoxazoline class, and Merial has made the necessary changes to the Nexgard labeling, including the addition of the new class declaration. "
Aksoy vs. WPIX She wished she had known of the side effects before.
"If you know the side effects, why would not you just say that and let me see if I want to take that risk? I would not take that risk, even if it was one in a million, "she said.
Lokum now takes seizure drugs twice a day and has consulted several specialists.
His medical care has so far cost $ 10,000. Drug manufacturer Zoetis sent $ 3,300 to Aksoy, but said it was not permanently possible. After WPIX intervened, a senior employee approached her and asked her to file her medical expenses for a possible reimbursement.