Alprazolam

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Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine anxiolytic drug which acts at the limbic, thalamic, and hypothalamic level of the CNS and has anxioytic, sedative, hypnotic, skeletal muscle relaxant, and anticonvulsant properties[1].

This drug is used for separation anxiety, storm phobias and other behavior problems[2].

Alprazolam is a physical dependence drug[3] and sudden withdrawal may precipitate an abstinence syndrome characterized by clonic or tonic-clonic convulsions[4].

Toxicity has been reported following accidental consumption of large doses.

Symptoms of toxicosis include ataxia, depression, vomiting, tremors, tachycardia, diarrhea and ptyalism, usually within 30 minutes of ingestion.

Treatment included standard decontamination procedures, such as induction of emesis with apomorphine and gastric lavage with activated charcoal.

A specific benzodiazepine antagonist, flumazenil, may be used for severe CNS depression associated with toxicosis[5].

Recommended dose rate in dogs is 0.02 mg/kg given orally every 12 hrs.

References

  1. Wismer TA (2002) Accidental ingestion of alprazolam in 415 dogs. Vet Hum Toxicol 44(1):22-23
  2. Crowell-Davis SL et al (2013) Use of clomipramine, alprazolam, and behavior modification for treatment of storm phobia in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 222(6):744-748
  3. Sloan JW et al (1990) Dependence-producing properties of alprazolam in the dog. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 35(3):651-657
  4. Martin WR et al (1990) Precipitated abstinence in orally dosed benzodiazepine-dependent dogs. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 255(2):744-755
  5. Hellyer PW et al (2001) Effects of diazepam and flumazenil on minimum alveolar concentrations for dogs anesthetized with isoflurane or a combination of isoflurane and fentanyl. Am J Vet Res 62(4):555-560