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Warning: Topical Medications Containing Flurbiprofen May Be Dangerous to Cats

Cats may become sick or die if exposed to certain human muscle creams.

The FDA is warning cat-owners about the potential toxic effects of human topical medications containing flurbiprofen. This active ingredient is a member of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, or NSAID, family. NSAID medications can be toxic to pets, especially cats.

The FDA has received reports on cats in two households becoming ill or dying after their owners used prescription topical cream products on themselves to treat muscle or joint pain. It is not known how the cats became exposed to the medication in those households.

The creams also contained several other ingredients, but the cats developed kidney failure, which is a sign of NSAID toxicity.

The FDA is recommending that, if you have flurbiprofen-based creams in your home, you take precautions to protect your cats from exposure, including:

  • Store the creams (and all medications) out of the reach of pets.
  • Be sure to get rid of or clean any cloth or other applicator that you might use to apply the cream.
  • Ask your doctor whether it is OK to cover the area of your body on which you are applying the medication.
  • If you feel that your cat may have been exposed to your flurbiprofen-based cream, bathe him or her immediately, and call your veterinarian.
  • If your pet shows signs of illness, such as lethargy, lack of appetite, or vomiting, seek veterinary care immediately, and be sure to let your veterinarian know that you use flurbiprofen cream.

While the FDA has not had any reports of dogs becoming ill or dying in households where flurbiprofen creams are used, dogs can develop NSAID toxicity too, so the same precautions should be exercised for them.

It's important to note that these creams may be specifically made for you by a compounding pharmacy. Be sure to read the label thoroughly to find out what your medication contains.

The FDA warning report can be seen here:

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