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Amphetamines

By: Dr. Nicholas Dodman

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Overview

  • Amphetamines stimulate the central nervous system. In humans, amphetamines are used to suppress appetite and elevate mood. They are also used in the treatment of attention deficit disorder.
  • In dogs, amphetamines can be used for attention deficit hyperactivity deficit disorder (ADHD).
  • Amphetamines work by releasing norepinephrine, which stimulates the central nervous system.
  • The amphetamine most often employed for medical treatment is dextroamphetamine.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but it is prescribed legally by a veterinarian as an extra-label drug.
  • In the United States, amphetamines are classified as a controlled substances and can only be prescribed legally by a veterinarian with an active DEA license.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Desoxyn® (Abbott), Dexedrine® (GlaxoSmithKline) and generic preparations
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Amphetamines

  • Amphetamines may be used to test for and treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in dogs.
  • They may also used to treat narcolepsy.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, amphetamines can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Amphetamines should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to these drugs.
  • They should not be used in hypertensive animals.
  • Amphetamines may interact with some medications. Consult your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with amphetamines. Such drugs include tranquilizers and antihistamines.

    How Amphetamines Are Supplied

  • Dextroamphetamine is available in a variety of concentrations in tablet or capsule form.
  • In tablet form, dextroamphetamine is available in 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg and 30 mg sizes.
  • In capsule form, dextroamphetamine is available in 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg and 30 mg sizes.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • To test for ADHD, carefully follow your veterinarian's dosing schedule and instructions. It is important to monitor your pet's activity level, respiratory rate and heart rate at each test dose. If these rates increase, the diagnosis of ADHD is NOT confirmed.
  • If the drug's effect is one of calming, with decreased heart and respiratory rates, then your veterinarian may confirm the diagnosis of ADHD.
  • To treat ADHD, dextroamphetamine is dosed at 0.25 to 0.5 mg per pound (0.5 to 1 mg/kg) orally every 12 to 24 hours.
  • The duration of administration depends on the response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian.




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