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Prilosec approved for horses
FDA OKs Ulcer Drug for Horses
.c The Associated Press
By LAURAN NEERGAARD
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The top-selling prescription drug for humans is now
to the farm: The government has approved the chemical in Prilosec to
ulcers in horses.
New Jersey-based Merial Limited will sell the horse drug under the brand
GastroGard. It's made of omeprazole, the active ingredient in the
that humans use to treat their own ulcers. For horses, omeprazole is
into an oral paste.
Who knew horses got ulcers? Actually, the seriousness of equine stomach
is a fairly recent discovery, and today's approval by the Food and Drug
Administration provides veterinarians with their first treatment.
Gastric ulcers are a common problem in foals and in horses in stressful
environments, particularly racehorses and other performance horses, the
According to Merial, up to 1.8 million performance horses may have
most noticeable symptoms are decreased appetite, colic, poor hair coat
poor body condition. In foals, symptoms also may include intermittent
In humans, stress does not cause ulcers -- a bacterium called H. pylori
main culprit. Also, certain medications such as aspirin can cause ulcers
eroding the stomach lining. Most human patients are treated with a
of antibiotics to kill H. pylori and anti-acid drugs such as Prilosec
shut down gastric acid production so the stomach has time to heal.
But H. pylori hasn't been found in horses. Feeding practices, training
trailering, competing and even hospitalization seem to contribute to
formation, Merial said.
Veterinarians tested GastroGard in 300 horses at 15 sites around the
Used once a day for four weeks, it healed or reduced the severity of
99 percent of treated horses, Merial said.
The FDA approved its use in foals older than 4 weeks and adult horses,
prescription only from a licensed veterinarian. FDA warned there is no
of the drug's safety in pregnant or lactating mares.
Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. The information contained in the
news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise
distributed without prior written authority of The Associated Press.
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