Deramaxx for dogs use, dosage, safety, side-effects and additional information such as Natural Alternatives to Deramaxx can be found below. In this drug monograph for Deramaxx we try to provide you with information that can help you make an educated decision in the use of this drug for your pet.

What is Deramaxx?

Deracoxib (trade name Deramaxx, Novartis) was introduced in 2002 and manufactured in Canada for Novartis Animal Health US, Inc. Deramaxx is a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) of the coxib class (cox-2 selective inhibitors), used in veterinary medicine for pain relief in dogs. It is sold in tablets, which have added beef flavor to increase palatability. Deramaxx received FDA approval in August 2002 for "the control of post operative pain and inflammation associated with orthopedic surgery in dogs." It is not approved or recommended for pain control in cats.

How Does Deramaxx Work?

NSAIDs like Deramaxx work to eliminate inflammation and pain by suppressing the action of a chemical called prostaglandins. When the prostaglandin particles in your pet's body are not allowed to bond with receptor cells inflammation and pain are reduced. Coxib type NSAIDs have been developed to inhibit only the cox-2-mediated pathways, achieving the desired therapeutic goal of reducing inflammation and pain by blocking PGE2 formation in joints and elsewhere. Unlike conventional NSAIDs, coxibs like Deramaxx are supposed to spare cox-1-mediated gastric PGE2 production thereby preserving gastroprotective actions and preventing ulcerations. However, they have not been as successful as promoted and a percentage of dogs will still suffer gastric ulceration.

What are the Cautions and Side Effects of Deramaxx?

Use of Deramaxx should be avoided or administered with extreme caution in dogs who are hypersensitive to other NSAIDs and dogs with gastro-intestinal ulcers, renal disease, liver disorders, hypoproteinemia, dehydration, or cardiac disease.

Dogs with renal disease may need dose adjustment (if the benefits of the medication outweigh the risks), while those on concurrent diuretic therapy are at increased risk for NSAID toxicity and should not be given this medication.

Concurrent use with steroids or other NSAIDs should be avoided.

Safety has not been established in pregnant or nursing dogs, so Deramaxx should not be administered to such dogs. Safety also has not been established in dogs younger than 4 months of age, but young dogs may be given this medication so long as they are monitored closely for adverse side effects.

Dogs weighing less than 15 lbs should not be given this medication for osteoarthritis pain and inflammation, and those weighing less than 7 lbs should not be given this medication for post-operative pain relief.

Documented adverse side effects include serious and sometimes fatal organ system damage or failure. As with all NSAIDs, this medication may cause gastric ulcerations, evidenced by diarrhea, vomiting, and other GI problems, particularly during long-term use or in sensitive individuals. The medication should be discontinued immediately if such side effects occur and owners should contact their veterinarian. Such side effects are more likely to occur if this drug is used in combination with other NSAIDs or with steroids; therefore is not recommended to give it with other NSAIDs or steroids.

Additionally, there is strong evidence from randomized clinical trials that the highly selective cox-2 inhibitors (coxibs), compared with placebo, cause an excess of serious cardiovascular events. Both Health Canada and the Food and Drug Administration have concluded that the excess cardiovascular events may be a ‘class effect’ of all the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including traditional NSAIDs (tNSAIDs) and coxibs, and now require appropriate black box labeling of all these agents.

Other side effects include depression, lethargy, increase in drinking or urination, jaundice, vomiting, bloody or black stools, pale gums, hot spots, increased respiration (fast or heavy breathing), lack of coordination, and behavior changes.

Is Deramaxx Contraindicated with Any Food or Drugs?

Deramaxx should not be given with any other NSAIDs or steroids, or drugs that have adverse side-effects on the liver or kidneys. There is no information that any food is contraindicated.

Important Additional Info detailed in an article from USA Today 4/11/2005:

Deramaxx has been used by about 1 million dogs since its 2002 launch, owner Novartis says. The FDA's data include 2,813 adverse-event reports for Deramaxx, including 630 dogs who died or were put down.

In September of 2010 the Washington Post reported that Deramaxx had been taken off the market in 2004 due to the number of complaints regarding the side effects and safety. It returned to the market (no info on when) with a recommendation that an insert be given to all clients detailing the known dangers and side effects.

Natural Alternatives to Deramaxx

There are a number of anti-inflammatory herbs, like white willow bark, that can make effective alternatives to Deramaxx and several of these can be found in our Pain Relief formula. Depending on the situation, joint nutrients like Glucosamine Sulfate and natural joint supplements like Elk Velvet Antler can offer anti-inflammatory benefits while supplying important nutrition to help repair joint cartilage.

How We Would Use Deramaxx

Deramaxx can be a dangerous drug with many side-effects. Using this drug after surgery for instance can provide relief from discomfort, but will also place an additional strain on an already strained system trying to recover from anesthesia and other drugs used during the surgery. We would probably avoid its use and use our Pain Relief formula instead.

As far as osteoarthritis is concerned, you can avoid this condition by providing a high-quality species appropriate diet. For carnivores this includes a high protein, whole food diet. This type of diet will provide the nutrients necessary for cartilage maintenance and repair. Many people do not realize that the low-protein, processed kibble foods are largely responsible for their pet's arthritic condition. In addition, we would supply additional joint nutrition in the form of our favorite joint supplement - elk velvet antler, with glucosamine sulfate being an economical second choice. Waiting to use a joint supplement until you see signs of joint disease is always a big mistake because damage to the joint has already occurred at that point. Start young with a healthier diet and joint supplementation and prevent joint damage before it occurs.

To summarize, we would avoid using this drug and the only instance we could envision using Deramaxx would be when all safer, natural choices have proven ineffective and our dog or cat's comfort was the main priority - in other words when all else has failed.


The Uses of Deramaxx for Dogs. Retrieved from

Common Deramaxx Side Effects. Retrieved from

Deramaxx. Retrieved from

Cairns, J.A. MD. (February 23, 2007). The coxibs and traditional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: A current perspective on cardiovascular risks. Retrieved from

Meggitt, J. (May 5, 2015). Deramaxx Vs. Rimadyl. Retrieved from

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