Vetsulin discontinued – when they bring it back in 2023?

Is Vetsulin discontinued? The first insulin for diabetic dogs and cats to receive federal approval is Vetsulin. It was initially marketed by Merck Animal Health in 2004. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voiced concern about the product’s stability in 2009. They warned that the product’s initiation and duration of action might be uncertain. They urged diabetic patients to transition to other medications. Vetsulin eventually came to an end in 2011 after having an impact on dogs. Afterward, the FDA gave it a second approval. Veterinarians and pet owners with diabetes in the U.S. can now purchase Vetsulin. Let us learn about it in this article.

What happened to Vetsulin?

The FDA’s concerns caused shortages and the final removal of the drug from the market. But Merck’s insulin for diabetic dogs and cats is again available for sale. The only licensed insulin for dogs and cats with diabetes mellitus is Vetsulin. It has been made available to the American veterinary market once again. This is according to Merck Animal Health.

In 2010, the organization authorized using Vetsulin for critically ill dogs and cats whose diabetes could not be controlled with regular insulin types. Vetsulin was discontinued in 2011 due to sterility issues that prevented the distribution of a new batch later that year.

According to Merck, these problems have been resolved. And hence, the FDA has given its approval for Vetsulin to be reintroduced.

What is the role of Vetsulin?

According to a press statement from the firm, diabetes mellitus affects between one in 100 and one in 500 dogs and cats. In the past 30 years, the number of dogs with the condition has tripled as of 2013. For more than 20 years, diabetic dogs and cats have been treated with Vetsulin. It is also known as Caninsulin outside of the U.S.

For diabetic dogs, the origin of the insulin is crucial, according to Merck. Canine insulin has a different amino acid structure from human and bovine insulin. These are used to create non-veterinary insulin products. Anti-insulin antibodies may also be a concern in dogs. It’s because canine diabetes frequently results from an immune-mediated process.

The porcine insulin that is used to make Vetsulin is made up of amino acids. It is the same as the insulin used in dogs. According to the manufacturer, this helps minimize this immunological threat. Anti-insulin antibodies are less of a worry in people with diabetes than in cats. This is because this condition is not known to be an immune-mediated disease.

Vetsulin is back

The insulin product Vetsulin has been re-approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This happened two years after it was removed from the market. It is once again in use as a result of manufacturing changes.

Even though the medicine has not been modified, drug manufacturer Merck Animal Health has implemented many label revisions. Instructions for Use, Item Description, and Shelf Life have all been changed on the label. Director of global scientific marketing affairs Dr. Linda Horspool, stated that “the product itself hasn’t been modified.”

As a result, patients whose blood sugar wasn’t controlled with Vetsulin earlier might not enjoy the relaunched medication. The Merck veterinarians suggested that any such issues would result from differences in how different bodies react to being given insulin products. Horspool noted that not all insulin products are effective in all patients. “It’s all about the individual and what suits them best.”

The company examined whether lots of Vetsulin that failed stability testing were linked to more reports to the Merck helpline than lots of Vetsulin that passed stability tests. This is according to Dr. Christopher Pappas Jr., director of U.S. scientific marketing relations at Merck. He claimed that there was no visible change.

Merck found the stability issue through internal quality-control testing. It is not because veterinarians or pet owners complained, according to Horspool. According to Horspool, the business frequently analyzes samples of its finished product. This is to verify stability throughout its shelf life. The ratio of the ingredients in one batch of insulin was discovered to fall outside the parameters of its standard.


Merck updated its production process and revised protocols. This was done to guarantee that things are done precisely the same way every time to address the stability issue. Horspool compared the situation to making cookies. He said that while the ingredients are the same, the method for mixing them is more carefully outlined.

The advice provided on what to do right before using Vetsulin is the most significant update to the label for veterinarians and pet owners. Protein insulin has long been considered delicate and needs to be handled with care. Like other insulins, the former Vetsulin label advised users to roll the vial to combine the ingredients gently.

The updated label states: “Shake the container until a homogenous, evenly milky solution is achieved.” The product’s shelf life is now 42 days, starting with the initial puncture of the vial on the revised label. In-use shelf life was not included in the last title.