Phenobarbital Drug Information for Dogs and Cats
- Drug name: Phenobarbital
- Common name: Epiphen, Phenobarb, Solfoton, Luminal, generics
- Drug type: Barbiturate
- Used for: Seizure control
- Species: Dog + cat
- Formulation: Injectable, tablets, oral solution
Name – Active Ingredient:
Name – Common Trade Names:
- Epiphen, Phenobarb, Solfoton, Luminal, generics
- Anti-epileptic, anti-seizure drug
Common Contraindications and Warnings:
- Use with caution in patients that are dehydrated, anaemic, pregnant or lactating, or have heart or lung disease.
- Do not use when liver function is impaired.
Potential Side Effects:
- Sedation and wobbliness are frequently seen when treatment is started. These typically resolve within a week unless high doses are given.
- Raised liver enzymes are common but do not generally indicate liver dysfunction.
- Rare side effects include excitability, liver damage/failure, blood cell disorders, and skin disease.
- Give with or without food. If vomiting is seen when given without food, try giving with food instead.
- Give entire course as instructed by your veterinarian (even if the pet seems 100% recovered).
- Do not skip doses or suddenly stop treatment, as this may result in seizures. If a dose is missed, give at the earliest opportunity and then again when next due.
- It takes 12 to 14 days in dogs and 9 to 10 days in cats for blood levels to stabilize and the full ability of the drug dose to be evaluated.
- Regular blood testing should be carried out to:
- Monitor the level of phenobarbital in the blood as this level tends to decrease with time, meaning a higher dose may be required
- Ensure liver damage is not occurring
- Monitor seizure frequency and severity – keep a seizure diary.
Speed of Action + Monitoring:
- Antibiotics start working straight away, but it can take several days for an effect to be seen depending on the type of infection and how long it has been present.
- If your pet is not recovering, then culture and sensitivity testing may be needed (if it has not already been carried out) or the diagnosis re-evaluated.
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