Alprazolam, the generic of Xanax, is a mild tranquilizer used to reduce anxiety in dogs and cats. It is classified chemically as a benzodiazepine tranquilizer, the pharmaceutical family that includes drugs like diazepam (Valium) and clorazepate (Tranxene). Alprazolam is not approved for use in animals by the FDA, but may be prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.
Who's Alprazolam For?
- Dogs and cats that suffer from anxiety
- Treatment of phobias (i.e., thunderstorms), separation anxiety, and situational fears (car travel, vet visits)
- May be used as a muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant, or appetite stimulant. It might also be useful for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome
Side Effects and Warnings
- Should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug
- Avoided in patients with muscular weakness or glaucoma. Alprazolam should be used with caution in animals with liver disease
- May interact with other medications, such as CNS depressants, digoxin, phenytoin and theophylline
- The most common side effect is excessive sedation and loss of motor control, but these effects occur at doses greater than those needed for its anxiety-reducing effect
- In some animals, alprazolam may cause a paradoxical reaction, causing excitement or worsening aggression
- Consult your veterinarian regarding any allergies your pet may have, and any other side effects of this medication
Use as directed by your veterinarian