Alprazolam

General Description: Alprazolam is an oral benzodiazepine tranquilizer used in dogs and cats for the treatment of various behavior disorders, especially anxiety problems. It is also used as a sedative, helps suppress seizure activity and is useful as a muscle relaxant. Best results are achieved with most behavior drugs by simultaneous use of behavior modification training. Alprazolam is available in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg and 2 mg tablets.

What is this drug?

Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine tranquilizer
Alprazolam is given by mouth
Reasons for prescribing:

To treat panic disorders in dogs (especially those associated with fireworks, thunderstorms, or other loud noise stimuli)
To reduce anxiety disorders in cats (ex. house soiling)
For use as a sedative
Often used in combination with other anti-seizure medication
For use as a muscle relaxant
May be prescribed in conjunction with behavior modification training
Lasts longer than diazepam
What dogs/cats should not take this medication?

Use with caution in pets with liver or kidney disease
Use with caution in older, debilitated animals, or those with certain types of glaucoma
Use with caution in working dogs (military/police/seeing eye/hearing, etc.) as too much sedation may impede their ability to work and learn
Pregnant and nursing animals
Pets known to have had an allergic reaction to alprazolam or other benzodiazepine medications (ex. Valium)
If your pet is presently taking like products (unless directed by your veterinarian)
Directions:

Medication takes 1-2 hours to reach maximum effect.

Give medication as directed by your veterinarian. This medication is usually given two to four times daily.

Read and follow the label carefully.

Give the exact amount prescribed and only as often as directed. Missed doses reduce the effectiveness of therapy.

Give this medication for as long as your veterinarian directs. Finish the entire course of treatment.

Alprazolam is a controlled drug. You will need a new prescription every 6 months. Your veterinarian must keep special records of its use.

What if dose is missed?

If a dose is missed, give it as soon as you can. If it is time already for the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to the normal schedule. Do not give two doses at the same time.

What to tell/ask veterinarian before giving medication?

Talk to your veterinarian about:

When will your pet need to be rechecked
What tests may need to be performed prior to and during treatment with this drug
Risks and benefits of using this drug
Tell your veterinarian about:

If your pet has experienced side-effects on other drugs/products
If your pet has experienced digestive upset now or ever
If your pet has experienced liver or kidney disease now or ever
If your pet has experienced any other medical problems or allergies now or ever
All medicines and supplements that you are giving your pet or plan to give your pet, including those you can get without a prescription. Your veterinarian may want to check that all of your pet’s medicines can be given together.
If your pet is pregnant or nursing or if you plan to breed your pet
Storage and Warnings:

Store alprazolam in a tight, light resistant, childproof container in a cool, dry place at room temperature away from heat and direct sunlight.

Keep this and all medication out of reach of children and pets. Call your physician immediately if you accidentally take this product.

Potential side effects:

Sedation, drowsiness
Rare dogs have experienced excitation instead of sedation
Can become addictive
Possible liver failure in cats. Liver enzymes should be monitored before and during therapy.
Some anti-anxiety medications used on aggressive animals may stimulate aggressive behavior. Always supervise a test-dose to ensure your pet is not over-tranquilized or aggressive.
Cats: behavior changes (irritability, increased affection, depression)
Discontinuing alprazolam abruptly may lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms
If you notice anything unusual, contact your veterinarian
Can this drug be given with other drugs?

Yes, but possible interactions may occur with antacids, cimetidine, digoxin, erythromycin, isoniazid, itraconazole, ketoconazole, other CNS depressants (narcotics, barbiturates), propranolol, rifampin and valproic acid.
If your pet experiences any unusual reactions when taking multiple medications, contact your veterinarian
Overdosing?

Contact your veterinarian immediately if pet eats more than the prescribed amount.

What else should I know?

Notify your veterinarian if your animal’s condition does not improve or worsens despite this treatment.

As with all prescribed medicines, alprazolam should only be given to the dog/cat for which it was prescribed. It should be given only for the condition for which it was prescribed.

This is just a summary of information about alprazolam. If you have any questions or concerns about alprazolam or for the condition it was prescribed, contact your veterinarian.

©North American Compendiums Inc. 2009. All rights reserved

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