Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market a drug for treatment of the clinical signs associated with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), also known as equine Cushing’s disease.
Prascend, Boehringer’s registered trademark for the drug pergolide mesylate, is the first and only FDA-approved product for the management of PPID in horses, the company said. The drug is administered in tablet form and decreases the risk of complications of PPID, including those that have the potential to be life-threatening.
Equine Cushing’s disease affects an estimated one in seven horses over the age of 15, and horses as young as seven years of age have been diagnosed with the disease, according to Boehringer. Chronic laminitis is significantly more common in horses suspected of having PPID. The most common clinical signs of advanced-stage PPID that occur in horses are hirsutism or an abnormal amount of hair growth, abnormal sweating, weight loss, muscle wasting, abnormal fat distribution, lethargy, laminitis, polydipsia, polyuria, chronic infections, and recurrent infections.
“Unfortunately, PPID is not a curable disease,” said John Tuttle, DVM, Boehringer equine technical services veterinarian. “However, Prascend does offer a safe and efficacious treatment option to veterinarians and horse owners that can help reduce the clinical signs of the disease and effectively improve the quality of life of infected horses.”
Beginning treatment in the earlier stages of PPID reduces the risk of some of the potential complications associated with the disease, such as laminitis, recurring infections, dental disease, and other potential issues of uncontrolled PPID, Dr. Tuttle said.