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Investigating new drugs for feline diabetes mellitus

Final report, Winn grant W10-020
Pharmacokinetics of pioglitazone in lean and obese cats
Investigators: Levent Dirikolu, Margarethe Hoenig, Duncan Ferguson; University of Illinois
Diabetes mellitus and hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) are common problems in feline medicine. Both diseases are associated with obesity and may be prevented by maintaining an ideal body weight. However, weight control is difficult in many cats and once these diseases develop, specific treatment is needed. Current treatment for diabetes mellitus in cats is either insulin or drug therapy with glipizide, along with dietary modification. The only treatment available for hepatic lipidosis is aggressive nutritional support, often with a feeding tube. In human medicine, new anti-diabetic drugs called thiazolidinediones such as pioglitazone improve insulin sensitivity and reverse fatty changes in the liver. The purpose of this project was to begin investigation of pioglitazone in cats so that it may be evaluated in clinical trials in the future.

The investigators’ objectives in this study were to evaluate the pharmacokinetics of this drug in lean and obese cats in an effort to provide a foundation for assessment of its effects on insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism. Pioglitazone was administered intravenously (median dose 0.2 mg/kg) or orally (3 mg/kg) to six healthy lean cats and six obese cats. There were no statistically significant differences in pharmacokinetic parameters between lean and obese cats subsequent to either oral or intravenous administration. No adverse effects were noted with oral dosing in any of the cats. It appears that achieving therapeutic concentrations of pioglitazone, potentially at a dose of 3 mg/kg, appears feasible. [VT]

Clark MH, Hoenig M, Ferguson DC and Dirikolu L. Pharmacokinetics of pioglitazone in lean and obese cats. J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2012.

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