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Anyone use Amitriptyline?

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My vet wants me to try Amitriptyline before anything else. It is given twice a day and has to build up in the dogs system for it to be effective.

He won't prescribe Alprazlam until I try this and only "if" I can hand him some studies that he can read to show there is no harm to the dog. I have Dr. Overall's article ready but I'm not sure it will be enough.

 

He has prescribed Diazepam to other patients that he says didn't have good results.

 

Any thoughts about the Amitriptyline? My girls need something, I hate to see them so scared.

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Every dog responds differently to these drugs. We used both Amitriptyline and Diazepam on a severely thunderphobic dog we had. I would ask if he would prescribe a small amount of Diazepam for emergencies while the Amitriptyline is building up in your dogs' system. I feel Amitriptyline is a better option for your dogs if it will work for them.

 

Mark

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Boo was on amtriptyline for behavior issues for about a year while I helped him work through his fear aggression issues with strangers. It was very useful in raising his trigger point to a level where he took time to think rather than simply react. In fact, I saw such an improvement that I weaned him off of it last fall. He is still protective, and not a dog that I allow strangers to approach, but he is so much better at listening to my direction instead of getting worked up. There have been a handful of instances where we have met people that have approached him without checking with me, and he has been calm and even friendly. I wouldn't go so far as to say he won't react to strangers anymore. He seems to be more reactive with men, but he's come a very long way.

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Nancy & Mark,

 

My main concern for using the Amitriptyline is that it can cause rapid heartbeat. What will this do when we go to play ball or on a long hike?

 

Did you have any issues with this?

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I have a noise phobic dog. He was on clomicalm which is in the same class as amitriptyline. Clomicalm is almost never used in humans anymore due to the side effects. The manufacturer is now marketing it to vets (The evil drug company - what a brilliant money making plan - sell to patients who have a hard time giving you feed back on adverse events). One of the older physicians I worked with stated that people told him it made them "jittery" after they had been taking it for a little while and that it was not helpful, and sometimes worsened anxiety. The class of meds is called tri-cyclic antidepressants - used for both anxiety and depression. They are rarely used in humans anymore due to side effects. When they are used it is generally dosed once a day at night to avoid some of the side effects. Clomicalm was not very helpful with my dog, even after increasing the dose. Plus it made him slow, off balance, and still anxious. We switched to a generic prozac which is in the SSRI class of meds - a new antidepressant/anxiety med with less side effects. The generic prozac is working well. We also use xanax for specific situations such as thunderstorms and agility trials where I can predict there will be a lot of noise. Xanax is a controlled substance so both MDs and Vets are hesitant to prescribe it. Both prozac and amitriptyline take about 6 to 8 weeks before you can see improvement. It might be worth your while to take your pup to a vet behaviorist. They can prescribe plus recommend behavioral modification activities to help with the anxiety.

 

It is possible that if you have a dog who could have back pain or nerve related pain that amitriptyline could be helpful as an adjunctive therapy for neuropathic pain. It does seem to have some benefit there. But again only dose at bedtime and the amount used is significantly less than required for depression/anxiety.

 

Mel, Bonnie, and the Baxter.

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All 3 of my girls are afraid of thunderstorms and fireworks and since we are coming up fast to that season I need to do something for them.

 

Per the vet I have to try the Amitriptyline first before he will give them anything else. I'm worried about the rapid heart rate and play. I'll be talking to the vet this morning about that.

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Allie has a prescription for diazepam and it works pretty well, with no measurable side effects. She is very, very noise phobic and fireworks especially send her into a frenzy (and her agitation sets off Rusty, who then usually has to have the valium, too :rolleyes: ). I've only used it 4 or 5 times. I give her the pill and she spends most of the evening snoozing in the bathroom behind the commode or in the bathtub, but after a while she will come out and settle on the bed. At least she isn't frantically crying, pacing and cowering.

 

I haven't tried the amitriptyline, but would be interested in knowing how it works for you. Good luck!

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I had a dog on amitriptyline for a while for anxiety. She had a slew of issues and I was hoping getting past the general nervousness would unravel some of it for us. She was indeed a lot calmer and it greatly helped things like her nervous tummy. But, we cut it out when I realized it was actually making her confident enough to assert herself to bite where before she might have hesitated out of fear.

 

On this:

The evil drug company - what a brilliant money making plan - sell to patients who have a hard time giving you feed back on adverse events

Those drug companies may be evil in other ways (I'm not hugely fond of the idea of marketing directly to consumers), but this isn't one of them. Dogs metabolize many drugs differently than people. What may be dangerous or have very unpleasant side effects for people, may not be as much of a problem for dogs.

 

PS: I'm on Elavil myself for mild, chronic hormonal-related depression and I love it. No side effects that I can tell and it helps me think through things rather than react emotionally.

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My main concern for using the Amitriptyline is that it can cause rapid heartbeat. What will this do when we go to play ball or on a long hike?

 

Did you have any issues with this?

I didn't notice any issues with my dog that was on Amitriptyline, including when he was working sheep.

 

Mark

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Solo has been on ami since 2000 (currently 50mg AM and PM) and has had no side effects of any kind. He has had no adverse physiological reactions and it does not sedate or "alter" him except to keep his anxiety levels down (his "normal" behavior is the same on and off drugs; the difference is that he can be "normal" in more situations than he can without them). I am not a vet, nor a behaviorist, but from what I understand it is a very safe medication to use on dogs. Side effects, if there are any, are usually transient so I would watch your dog initially but honestly, most likely nothing will happen. You won't see any behavioral changes for a few weeks.

 

Solo is also on fluoxetine (Prozac, an SSRI), 20mg AM and 10mg PM. This illustrates how dogs metabolize these medications differently from people. The doses of ami and fluoxetine that Solo is on are considered low for dogs -- the idea behind the combo therapy is that the medications compliment each other, and lower doses of each reduces the chances of side effects from either. The amount of medication he is taking is approximately the same that would be prescribed to an adult human although he is one-third the size at 50 lbs. Solo has his blood chemistry and liver function checked yearly and his lab results are always flawless. He's on the meds for generalized anxiety, but he is also noise phobic and they do reduce (not eliminate) his panic reactions to thunder, gunshots, and fireworks. For very bad noise events (big storms, Fourth of July, the Blue Angels coming to town) he gets a small dose of alprazolam.

 

I think you should feel pretty safe about trying the amitriptyline.

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Thanks Melanie I have been wanting to hear from more people who have used this.

 

All 3 are starting out with 25mg twice a day. They all weigh under 40 pounds. I will be adding Diazepam when things get really bad.

 

Kya can be very easily excited in certain situations and the vet said the Amitriptyline could help with those issues also. I've been told it will take 2 to 3 weeks before I see the full affects from the drug.

Is there anything I should look for or can you tell me any signs so I know the dosage is right and the drug is working?

 

Thanks for all your replies I am feeling better about taking this step.

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My experience is similar to SoloRiver's. My dog (also called Solo) has been on amitriptyline (50 mg AM and PM) for just over a year now. I was concerned that it would change his personality, but it hasn't at all. He is still the same energetic, super-fast agility dog that loves to go on long hikes as well. The only change I've noticed is that he has less of an "edge" to him, and he has become more social and friendly. However, we have also been doing a lot of behaviour modification work as well.

 

Solo also has a prescription for alprazolam (Xanax) for special anxiety-provoking situations, such as fireworks and thunderstorms. He had a dose last night when neighbours in my apartment building decided it would be fun to burst a bunch of balloons in the hallway. Ideally, I would give him the Xanax before the noises start, but it helped even though I gave it to him when he was already stressed.

 

Good luck with your dogs!

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We use Alprazolam with no side effects. We use a lot actually (can't recall the mgs right now) and it is administered and hour before and then more half hour before. The doses we give are for severe anxiety and aggression/biting. It makes him wobbly but he can still react. We tried Diazapam which didn't even phase him.

 

I almost didn't write anything b/c 1) my dog is a special case and don't know if other dogs, at high doses would have the same drive and 2) I didn't address the amitriptyline but I am really curious about that option and am so glad you posted about it.

 

Sometimes I think when Shep starts feeling "relaxed" from the alprazolam he almost seems more alert/suspicious b/c I only give it for vets. So if there's a drug they take all the time like amitriptyline and it helped your dogs at the vet, maybe it's worth it as opposed to dosing just before the event. I dunno---just guessing.

 

What happens to your dogs at the vet?

 

Thanks.

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My dogs don't have any problems with the vet at all, they love it there.

My one year old is reactive to other dogs that get in her space and all of them are noise phobic, thunder and fireworks seem to be the only things right now.

 

The noise phobia is why I started the Amitriptyline and if it helps with Kya's aggression that's an added bonus. We have been working with a behaviorist and if she can even become less focused on the other dogs while on the Amitriptyline great.

 

I know it's too soon to see results from the Amitriptyline and we have some storms predicted tonight so I have the Diazepam if needed. Wish us luck.

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Solo has been on ami since 2000 (currently 50mg AM and PM) and has had no side effects of any kind. He has had no adverse physiological reactions and it does not sedate or "alter" him except to keep his anxiety levels down (his "normal" behavior is the same on and off drugs; the difference is that he can be "normal" in more situations than he can without them). I am not a vet, nor a behaviorist, but from what I understand it is a very safe medication to use on dogs. Side effects, if there are any, are usually transient so I would watch your dog initially but honestly, most likely nothing will happen. You won't see any behavioral changes for a few weeks.

 

Solo is also on fluoxetine (Prozac, an SSRI), 20mg AM and 10mg PM. This illustrates how dogs metabolize these medications differently from people. The doses of ami and fluoxetine that Solo is on are considered low for dogs -- the idea behind the combo therapy is that the medications compliment each other, and lower doses of each reduces the chances of side effects from either. The amount of medication he is taking is approximately the same that would be prescribed to an adult human although he is one-third the size at 50 lbs. Solo has his blood chemistry and liver function checked yearly and his lab results are always flawless. He's on the meds for generalized anxiety, but he is also noise phobic and they do reduce (not eliminate) his panic reactions to thunder, gunshots, and fireworks. For very bad noise events (big storms, Fourth of July, the Blue Angels coming to town) he gets a small dose of alprazolam.

 

I think you should feel pretty safe about trying the amitriptyline.

 

Has Solo always been on ami and fluoxetine combined from the beginning of treatment?

Thanks

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