A new pharmacological molecule improves the safety of canine sedation and anaesthesia

Vatinoxan reduces the adverse effects on the cardiovascular system of pharmacological agents used for animal sedation and anaesthesia. Also, other drugs achieve their therapeutic effect faster when administered simultaneously with vatinoxan.

A drug discovery made at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine will increase the safety of animal sedation and anaesthesia. Vatinoxan, the pharmacological molecule discovered in the study, reduced the adverse effects of other drugs on the cardiovascular system of canine patients.

The research project leading to the discovery was launched more than a decade ago when veterinary researchers were investigating the adverse effects of sedatives and anaesthetics on animal patients. They developed the idea to prevent or at least reduce the disadvantages associated with anaesthetics through the use of drugs, and the new research line generated in the process has led to the submission of two patent applications.

Now, the efficacy and safety of the new drug has been for the first time trialled on canine patients at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital of the University of Helsinki.

“As veterinary drug studies take time and money, it is a great achievement that we have succeeded in advancing vatinoxan’s development to the point where it has been possible to trial it on volunteered canine patients,” says Outi Vainio, professor of veterinary pharmacology and head of the project.

“It has been rewarding to observe that the new drug really works on the canine patients as expected,” notes Ira Kallio-Kujala, a doctoral student and veterinarian working at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital who served as the project’s principal investigator.

The drug is aimed for a marketing authorisation within a couple of years.

The project was carried out in collaboration with the Universities of Turku, Dublin and Montreal.


I. J. Kallio-Kujala, H. A. Turunen, M. R. Raekallio, J. M. Honkavaara, K. M. Salla, D. Casoni, H. J. Hautajärvi, O. M. Vainio. Peripherally acting α-adrenoceptor antagonist MK-467 with intramuscular medetomidine and butorphanol in dogs: A prospective, randomised, clinical trial. The Veterinary Journal, Volume 240, October 2018, Pages 22–26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2018.08.007