General Description: If your pet is experiencing frequent seizures, phenobarbital may be used as an effective control. Phenobarbital may be used alone or in combination with other drugs. Periodic blood testing will be necessary. Phenobarbital is available in 15 mg, 30 mg and 60 mg tablets.
What is this drug?
Given by mouth, or by injection at your veterinarian’s office
Reasons for prescribing:
To control seizures in dogs or cats with epilepsy
What dogs/cats should not take this medication?
Breeding, pregnant or nursing pets
Use with extreme caution in pets with liver or lung disease
Use with caution in dehydrated or anemic pets, or those with Addison’s, heart or kidney disease
If your pet has had an allergic reaction to phenobarbital or other barbiturates
Read and follow the label carefully.
Give the exact amount prescribed and only as often as directed. It is usually givenonce or twice a day and is usually given for the rest of the pet’s life. Seizures may reoccur if a dose is missed.
Ideally, give the medication at the same time(s) daily.
When phenobarbital is started, allow 2-4 weeks to reach stable blood levels. Seizures may occur during this period.
Baseline blood work to assess your pet’s health before starting this drug is recommended. Periodic blood work to monitor the level of drug in the blood will be necessary. Dose adjustments will be made based upon the results and an assessment of how your dog is responding clinically.
It may take a week for the level of the drug to stabilize after a dose change.
Record the date, time, severity, length and circumstances of any seizure your pet has. Provide this information to your veterinarian in order to help him/her to best treat your pet.
Because this drug is a controlled drug, you will need a new prescription from your veterinarian every 6 months. Call ahead for refills.
What if a dose is missed?
If a dose is missed, give it as soon as you can as missing even one dose can lead to a seizure. 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
What are the 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 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 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:
Your pet will likely be tired when first prescribed phenobarbital. Some pets become agitated and anxious too. If these side effects do not disappear or get worse, contact your veterinarian.
Your pet may want to eat, drink and urinate more often
Your pet may stagger, seem depressed or sedated
May cause liver disease at high doses (especially in dogs). Liver enzymes should be monitored before and during therapy. If you notice jaundice (yellow gums, skin or eyes), let your veterinarian know.
Phenobarbital depresses breathing which may cause an oxygen shortage and cause pets to overheat
Many laboratory tests are affected by phenobarbital
Bone marrow suppression, anemias or low platelets are possible. Watch for weakness, pale gums or increased bleeding or bruising tendencies.
If you notice anything unusual, contact your veterinarian
Can this drug be given with other drugs?
Yes, but possible interactions may occur with aminophylline, anticoagulants, antihistamines, beta-blockers, chloramphenicol, CNS depressants, corticosteroids, doxycycline, erythromycin, furosemide, griseofulvin, lysodren, metronidazole, NSAIDs, opiate agonists, phenothiazine, phenytoin, quinidine, rifampin, theophylline and valproic acid.
If your pet experiences any unusual reactions when taking multiple medications, contact your veterinarian.
Contact your veterinarian immediately if pet receives 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, phenobarbital should only be given to the pet 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 phenobarbital. If you have any questions or concerns about phenobarbital or the condition it was prescribed for, contact your veterinarian.