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Orion introduces a medicine for treating obese dogs

This document is an English version of a press release,
published and distributed in Finland and in Finnish only, on 29 May 2007.
Orion will launch a medicine for the treatment of overweight and obese dogs onto the Finnish market at the beginning of June. The prescription drug, which will be sold under the name Yarvitan, mitratapide, is the first registered medicinal treatment for dogs. The originator of the product is Janssen Animal Health.
Yarvitan's active ingredient is mitratapide. The medicine is an oral solution that is administered to overweight or obese dogs once a day. The eight-week treatment course consists of two three-week periods of medication with a two-week break in between.
Excessive weight poses health risks for dogs, just as it does for humans. It is estimated that about 40 per cent of the world's dogs suffer from overweight or obesity. Out of the 600,000 registered dogs in Finland, about 25 - 30 per cent are overweight.
Overweight and in particular obese dogs suffer from a number of health risks, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory problems and osteoarthritis. Dogs are considered to be clinically overweight when they are more than 10 per cent over their ideal weight, and are obese if over 20 per cent of their ideal weight.
Current treatments alone are not always sufficient
No medicines have been available for helping to manage overweight and obesity in dogs until now. Treatment has consisted of veterinary diets, avoiding of titbits and snacks, increased exercise and a change of lifestyle. There are many diet foods available for dogs, but dogs can easily refuse to eat when their food is changed. A change in diet may also cause skin or other symptoms.
Dog owners' attitudes may also prevent the successful management of overweight dogs using current methods. Diet foods are often more expensive than normal food. Dog owners may not like to 'torment' their pets with strict diets. They may even have weight problems themselves. Not all dog owners necessarily consider overweight or obesity of their dogs being a disease.
What is Yarvitan?
The active ingredient in Yarvitan is mitratapide. It is indicated to be used as an aid in the management of overweight and obesity in adult dogs as part of an overall weight management programme which also includes appropriate dietary changes.  Hence, the treatment course provides a kick-start to dropping weight alongside other measures. Yarvitan pharmaceutical form is an oral, colourless to slightly yellow solution. Packages are available in three sizes: 55 ml or 120 ml bottles for dogs weighing up to 36 kg, and a 210 ml bottle for dogs weighing up to 48 kg. Suitable doses for larger dogs can be made up from these according to the dog's weight. Dosage is always calculated based on the dog's weight at the time of medication.
When to use Yarvitan?
Yarvitan is used to expedite weight control in overweight or obese adult dogs. The medication is primarily used alongside changes in lifestyle to kick-start a controlled weight loss. This programme includes a change of diet. Weight loss without medication is a slow process and therefore often requires a great deal of patience from owners.
The medicine is administered to dogs for a period of three weeks. A two-week break follows medication. During this time, the vet evaluates the dog's nutritional requirements based on its energy needs. After this, the dog will receive the second three-week period of medication and a change in diet (a 3-2-3-week treatment programme). The Yarvitan solution can be added to a dog's food or administered directly via the mouth.
Benefits proven by research
In studies, the recommend dosage of mitratapide administered in a 3-2-3-week treatment programme reduced dogs' weight compared to a control group. Weight loss was about 8 per cent of the dogs' weight prior to treatment. This treatment forms the first stage in a weight loss programme. Treatment must be combined with changes in diet and lifestyle, and these must be continued after the treatment /Janssen Field Study USA & UK, 2006/.
Mechanism of action
Yarvitan's active ingredient, mitratapide, works by inhibiting certain proteins in the intestines (microsomal triglyceride transfer protein, MTP). MTP inhibitors prevent the absorption of fat. This protein is involved in absorbing the fat consumed as part of a normal diet. By inhibiting this protein, mitratapide reduces the amount of fat absorbed through the intestines. Thanks to its mechanism of action, the appetite reducing effect of mitratapide is minimal.
How has mitratapide been investigated?
Mitratapide has been investigated on dogs in both laboratory and field studies. Two major field tests have been conducted in Europe and the United States in dogs that are still healthy despite being 20 per cent over their ideal weights. About three in four dogs received mitratapide and the rest a pharmaceutical product from which the active ingredient had been removed. During the studies, the dogs received also other medicines they required, such as vaccines, dewormers, flea and tick treatment, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Mitratapide has been shown to be compatible with standard anti-inflammatory drugs and ACE inhibitors used in the treatment of heart failure. The medicine has proven to be well tolerated.
The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) granted an EU-wide marketing authorisation for Yarvitan on 14 November 2006. The marketing authorisation holder is Janssen Animal Health B.V.B.A. Belgium. Orion has received the rights to market the medicine in Finland based on its long-term co-operation with Janssen Animal Health.
Contact persons in Orion for additional information:
Dr. Minna Rinkinen, Veterinary Medical Adviser, Animal Health, tel. +358 50 966 2773
Sauli Niinist√∂, Sales and Marketing Director, Animal Health, tel. +358 50 966 3692
In Orion Communications:
Tuula Laitinen, Communications Manager, tel. +358 50 966 2136,
Released by:
Orion Corporation
PO Box 65, 02101 Espoo