Fluoxetine is an SSRI. The originally marketed human drug is called Prozac®. Fluoxetine increases serotonin levels within the central nervous system by preventing the re-uptake of serotonin at the level of the presynaptic neuron. This allows serotonin to accumulate in the synaptic cleft and affect the post-synaptic neuron. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for facilitating social interactions, general awareness, coping mechanism, and adaptability. SSRI drugs commonly are prescribed for humans as a part of the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, compulsive disorders, and difficulty managing aggression. Fluoxetine must be administered for four to eight weeks before the full effect on serotonin levels is realized.
Fluoxetine is well-absorbed orally. Although the bioavailability of transdermal fluoxetine is only about 10% of that of the oral medication, it may be an alternative when oral administration is not feasible or safe.
Fluoxetine (brand names: Prozac®, Reconcile®, Sarafem®) is an SSRI antidepressant used to treat a variety of behavioral disorders in dogs and cats. The FDA approved form for dogs is labeled to treat separation anxiety. Its use in cats, dogs, and birds to treat certain behavioral conditions is ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their directions may be significantly different from those on the label.
Uses Of Fluoxetine For Dogs
Fluoxetine can be used to treat several conditions in dogs. Vets usually prescribe it with a behavior modification program until the condition is under control. Then they wean the dog off the drug until they can manage the condition without the use of medication.
Here are some of the conditions in dogs that veterinarians may treat with fluoxetine:
- Compulsive disorders
- Separation anxiety
- Noise anxiety, including thunderstorm phobia
Dosage Of Fluoxetine For Dogs
Dosage of fluoxetine for dogs will vary based on the condition that needs treatment, the size of the dog, and the dog’s response to the drug. It’s important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions closely, as overdose of fluoxetine can cause seizures in dogs. Typically the drug is given in a dosage of 0.5 to 0.9 mg per pound orally once per day. So, for example, a 30-pound dog would probably get somewhere between 15 and 27 mg per day. Fluoxetine usually comes in 10 mg or 20 mg tablets, and your vet will let you know how to give a precise dose.
Fluoxetine Side Effects
- Dogs: Sedation and anorexia are the most-commonly reported side effects. Other side-effects include GI upset and behavior changes (anxiety, irritability, hyperactivity, and insomnia). Aggression (very uncommon) and seizures also have been reported.
- Cats: Anorexia and behavior changes (anxiety, irritability, hyperactivity/insomnia, and elimination behavior) are the most-commonly reported side effects in cats. Anorexia is a common-enough side effect in the cat that the client should monitor the cat’s appetite and weight. Dermatitis may occur at the site of transdermal application.
- Serotonin syndrome is a potentially life-threatening, iatrogenic drug-reaction caused by excessive intra-synaptic serotonin. It is very rare in animals but may occur when multiple serotonergic drugs are administered, with an overdose or in instances of individual hypersensitivity. This most-commonly occurs with a combination of SSRI and MAOI medications, although there are some opioid analgesics with serotonergic activity. Symptoms include neuromuscular hyperactivity, hyperthermia, autonomic hyperactivity, and altered mental status.
- Fluoxetine usually is not prescribed for animals with diabetes mellitus or seizure disorders. Animals with impaired liver function may need reduced a dose.
- There are active metabolites of fluoxetine for four to five weeks after discontinuing the drug.
- Some animals appear to stop responding to an individual SSRI medication. This also occurs in humans but it has not been studied widely in dogs and cats.
Fluoxetine hydrochloride is the active ingredient in the human drugs Prozac and Sarafem, and in the veterinary formulation of Reconcile. Fluoxetine may interact with the following medications:
- Anti-anxiety medications (alprazolam, diazepam, buspirone)
- Anticoagulants (warfarin)
- Antidepressants (clomipramine, amitriptyline, imipramine, trazodone)
- Antihistamine (cyproheptadine)
Prices of Fluoxetine For Dogs
$10.35 – – $29.99