When your veterinarian prescribes medication for your pet, it’s sometimes hard to remember all the information discussed during the visit. Fortunately, you can receive a Client Information Sheet from your veterinarian to answer questions and explain the medication.
What is a Client Information Sheet?
A Client Information Sheet (CIS) is written specifically for pet owners, in a user-friendly, question-and-answer format. The handout gives you detailed information about your pet’s medication and the side effects it can cause, helping you use the medication as safely and effectively as possible for your pet. A Client Information Sheet tells you:
- what the drug’s name is and what type of drug it is,
- what you can expect the drug to do for your pet,
- what the drug’s potential side effects are, and
- what you should do if you see side effects in your pet.
A Client Information Sheet is different from the medication’s package insert. Although the package insert also explains how the drug works and what the potential side effects are, it’s written for a veterinarian.
Where can I get a Client Information Sheet?
You can get a Client Information Sheet from your veterinarian. Not all veterinary medications, however, have Client Information Sheets available. Generally, they’re written for medications where owner involvement is important for safe and effective use. Some FDA-approved veterinary medications that have Client Information Sheets include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for companion animals
- Vetoryl (trilostane)
- Felimazole (methimazole)
- Palladia (toceranib phosphate)
- Comfortis (spinosad)
- Trifexis (spinosad and milbemycin)
- ProZinc (protamine zinc human recombinant insulin)
- Recuvyra (fentanyl)
You should receive a Client Information Sheet every time you receive a prescription for any of the medications listed above; whether it’s the first time your pet is receiving it or the 15th refill. In fact, the package inserts for these medications inform the veterinarian to “Always provide a client information sheet with prescription.”
Why is a Client Information Sheet important?
A Client Information Sheet is an important, helpful reminder about your pet’s medication. If you think your pet is having a problem with the medication, you can refer to the Client Information Sheet for advice. By helping you recognize possible side effects, the handout can increase your pet’s chance for a good recovery.
What should I do if I think my pet is having side effects from a medication?
The most important thing you should do if you think your pet is having side effects from a medication is call your veterinarian immediately! Your veterinarian can determine whether your pet should be seen and whether you should stop giving your pet its medication.
My pet had a side effect from a medication. Where can I report it?
If your pet had a side effect from a medication, report the incident! Side effects, also called adverse drug experiences, should first be reported to the drug company by calling the phone number on the Client Information Sheet or on the medication’s label. Drug companies are required by law to send all reports of side effects they receive to the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) within certain time frames. If you tell the drug company about your pet’s side effect, the report will reach FDA.
For more information about reporting side effects, you can contact FDA by phone or see the agency’s Web page on reporting problems: How to Report Animal Drug Side Effects and Product Problems.
What does CVM do with reports of side effects?
When CVM receives reports of side effects from drug companies, veterinarians, or pet owners, the center’s scientists enter the information into an online database of adverse drug experiences. CVM scientists use the ADE database to make decisions about product safety which may include changes to the label or other regulatory actions. Updated labels help veterinarians use medications more safely and effectively in their patients.
Veterinarians and pet owners aren’t required to report side effects to the drug company or CVM. However, the more complete the database, the better informed our scientists are when making product safety decisions. So please report medication side effects in your pet!
CVM’s database of adverse drug experiences reported through April 2013 is publicly available online at the Adverse Drug Experience (ADE) Reports page. More recent adverse drug experience information can be obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Information on how to make a FOIA request can be found on our How to Make a FOIA Request webpage.
Communication is Key
All medications have risks and benefits. While your veterinarian is the most qualified source of information about your pet’s medications and care, Client Information Sheets put helpful information right in your hand. When your veterinarian prescribes medication for your pet, ask if a Client Information Sheet is available.
Remember: Being an informed owner is your pet’s best defense against serious side effects from any medication!