Flunixin Meglumine

By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is flunixin meglumine?

Flunixin meglumine (brand names: Banamine®, Flumeglumine®, Finadyne®, Flu-Nix®, Flunixamine®, Flunixiject®, Flunizine®, Prevail®, Suppressor®, Vedagesic®) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat pain, inflammation, and fever.

While its use in horses is FDA-approved its use in dogs, cats, ferrets and other small mammals to treat pain and inflammation is ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’. Use in dogs is on label outside of the United States. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their directions may be significantly different from those on the label.

How is flunixin meglumine given?

Flunixin meglumine is given by mouth in the form of a paste or granules, applied to the skin in the form of a transdermal liquid solution, or injected into the muscle or vein by your veterinarian. Do not apply the transdermal form to the skin if it is wet or if it will likely get wet within 6 hours after application. Give the oral forms with food or mixed with molasses. Measure doses carefully.

This medication should take effect within 1 to 2 hours; however, effects may not be visibly obvious and therefore laboratory tests may need to be done to evaluate if the medication is working.

What if I miss giving my pet the medication?

If you miss a dose, give it when you remember, but if it is close to the time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed and give it at the next scheduled time, and return to the regular dosing schedule. Never give your pet two doses at once or give extra doses.

Are there any potential side effects?

Side effects are uncommon if used short term and at lower doses. Side effects may include swelling at the injection site, muscle stiffness, or sweating. Serious side effects include stomach or intestinal upset characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite, abnormal bleeding, fever, limb swelling, or muscle infection/damage after injection into the muscle.

This moderate-acting medication should stop working in a few days, although effects can be longer in pets with liver or kidney disease.

Are there any risk factors for this medication?

Do not use flunixin meglumine in pets that are allergic to it or other NSAIDs, or in pets expecting to give birth within the next 2 days. It should be used cautiously in pets with kidney, liver, or blood diseases, pregnant, breeding, or nursing pets, or pets with stomach ulcers or colic. Use cautiously, if at all, in dogs and especially cats, and should never be used in birds.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

The following medications should be used with caution when given with flunixin meglumine: Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, aspirin, corticosteroids, cyclosporine, digoxin, enrofloxacin, loop diuretics, methotrexate, nephrotoxic agents, probenecid, or warfarin.

Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking.

Is there any monitoring that needs to be done with this medication?

In horses using this medication long-term, blood cell counts and fecal checks for bleeding should be performed. Body temperature should be monitored when the transdermal form is used. Your veterinarian may monitor your pet to be sure that the medication is working. Monitor your pet at home for serious side effects, including vomiting, diarrhea, or bleeding in dogs.

How do I store flunixin meglumine?

Store this medication in the refrigerator or at room temperature between 36°F and 86°F (2°C and 30°C). Protect from light and protect paste from freezing.

What should I do in case of emergency?

If you suspect an overdose or an adverse reaction to the medication, call your veterinary office immediately. If they are not available, follow their directions in contacting an emergency facility.

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