Psychotropic drugs: Why, where, when and how (Proceedings) - Veterinary Healthcare


Psychotropic drugs: Why, where, when and how (Proceedings)



The drug is buspirone (Buspar®) which increases serotonin in brain. A previous study from our center showed effectiveness on urine marking in cats; this use has been replaced by fluoxetine or clomipramine.

Benzodiazepine derivatives

Drugs include alprazolam (Xanax®), diazepam (Valium®) and oxazepam (Serax®). They can be effective on anxieties and feline urine marking. The advantage is relatively quick action. They are used in conjunction with SSRIs when immediate effects are needed; they are then tapered off. Prime disadvantages are dependence and tolerance, necessitating an increase of dosage.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI's)

The main one is l-deprenyl (Anipryl®), licensed for dogs for Canine Cognitive Dysfunction). The main effect is to counteract depletion of dopamine in aging animals which is partially responsible for the signs of behavioral senility. The drug is not effective in every case, and the disease still progresses. The dietary supplements of carnitine and lipoic acid, plus antioxidants and anti-inflammatory omega-3s, seem to work more effectively.

Phenothiazine derivatives

These are acetylpromazine (Acepromazine®), chlorpromazine (Thorazine®) and promazine (Sparine®). These are dopamine antagonists and are the oldest of psychotropic medications used in animals. They are, and were, used primarily for sedation, to decrease vocalizations and temporary sedation or restraint of animals for travel. They are not particularly effective in controlling behavior problems.

Long-acting progestins

Include medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera®), and megestrol acetate (Ovaban®, Megace®). These have been used for reducing aggression, inappropriate elimination and urine marking. A general effect is to suppress male-like behavior. They have a calming effect as well. These are used in humans as birth control agents and treatment of reproductive disorders, but are rarely used now in animals due to potential side effects and limited effectiveness.


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