Media Reports Question Safety of Trifexis

The following alert was sent this morning to AVMA/SAVMA members who opted in to receive email alerts about animal and public health issues. If you are a member and you’d like to opt in to receive these alerts or any other AVMA alerts or newsletters, visit our Newsletters page.

A recent media report focused on some pet owners’ beliefs that their dogs died due to the use of Trifexis®, a heartworm and intestinal parasite preventive medication. There also have been statements made on social media alleging illness and death due to the medication. The manufacturer, Elanco, and the FDA are aware of these complaints. To date, no deaths have been definitively linked to the drug.

It’s likely that you may receive questions from your clients about this issue, and you may have clients who are unwilling to continue or begin using this medication.

We have talking points on our website that may help you with these conversations, and we will continue to post updated information about this issue on the same website page, as it becomes available. We post notifications on our website of all animal-related food, drug and product recalls on our product safety alerts page. We also report animal-related safety alerts and recalls on a real-time basis on our @AVMARecallWatch Twitter feed.

We also have a page for pet owners on this subject. Feel free to share this page with your clients.

2 thoughts on “Media Reports Question Safety of Trifexis

  1. My Conversation with Elanco.
    Since Elanco did not have a contact email address, I had to call them and leave a message. The call was returned promptly. I first asked the receptionist, she pushed me over to a vet tech, who pushed me over to an Elanco vet. This is verbatim:

    My Question:

    Exactly what would a necropsy show for a dog who died of insecticidal poisoning? Specifically Trifexis?

    Her Answer:

    “There isn’t much that you can actually find from a systemic medication.” “What we look for are underlying causes, pre-existing conditions – any other indication that the dog had any other reason for dying.” “There is nothing really definitive to look for” “There is no established link” “We look for what else was going on with the dog.” “For instance, if the dog had a tumor, etc. then that is why we assume the dog died of it.”

    My Question:

    But even finding another problem with the dog, that’s not exclusive of the dog actually dying from Trifexis, is it?

    Her Answer:

    “No, you’re right. But all we can do is look for things that can explain the dog’s death.” “There is nothing pathognomonic to look for.” (pathognomonic = a term, often used in medicine, that means characteristic for a particular disease.)

    My Question:

    Why is there different safety regulations on the use of Trifexis in Europe than in the US?

    Her Answer:

    “The Trifexis used in Europe is the very same as the Trifexis used here in the US. But the regulatory bodies are specific to each individual country. They do their own safety experiments and we do ours.”

    SO THERE YOU HAVE IT! Elanco and the “independent vet” goes into the necropsy denying that Trifexis could have caused the death. They have NO physical findings to actually look for – they admit that!

    Call them yourself: 1-877-352-6261 and hear it directly from them.

    By the way, the “independent vet” worked for Eli Lilly (owner of Elanco) for over 20 years – he was hardly unbiased.

    • Why couldn’t they find residue or something in the liver? Or do a chemical panel of the blood? I also agree that
      the pathologist was probably not unbiased. My heart just aches for these families. SO sad!