Bapten Discontinued By PR Pharmaceuticals

The equine tendon medication Bapten has been discontinued by its manufacturer, PR Pharmaceuticals, because of a lack of demand for the product. The expense and length of treatment involved with Bapten therapy kept the drug from becoming popular with horse owners, according to Keri Nightingale, the company's marketing manager for Bapten.

"It requires a bit of a commitment on the horse owner's part," she said. 'There is a fairly strict exercise regimen in which the amount of work is increased slowly for about a year. There also is the cost of multiple veterinary visits to treat the horse and to perform ultrasound examinations."

Known scientifically as beta-aminoproprionitrile fumarate, Bapten was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1998. Research showed that the drug promoted a more natural alignment of tendon fibers during the healing process.

Boehringer Ingelheim was the original distributor and manufacturer of Bapten. But soon after the product became available commercially, there were reports of excessive swelling in some tendons following the drug's administration. Boehringer Ingelheim voluntarily took Bapten off the market late in 1998 and investigated the problem, which turned out to be related to dose amount and the size of the tendon lesion being treated.

Sales of Bapten resumed in March of 1999, but Boehringer Ingelheim dropped the product later that year, citing financial reasons.

PR Pharmaceuticals, which is based in Fort Collins, Colo., acquired the manufacturing and marketing rights for the Bapten and began selling it in 2000. But the company had difficulty overcoming the drug's bad publicity.

"Bapten is a fantastic product," Nightingale said. "But any time a drug is pulled off the market, it puts a message in peoples' minds that something is wrong."

As of Aug. 1, PR Pharmaceuticals had "about 1,000" Bapten treatment kits in stock, according to Nightingale. The kits each contain five vials of the drug, but the expiration date for the doses is Aug. 31.

"We have excellent stability data for Bapten, so we've put in for an extension with the FDA," Nightingale said.

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