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Clomipramine (Clomicalm®)

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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  • Behavioral disorders in dogs and cats are a common reason for veterinary visits. Unacceptable or dangerous animal behavior problems may lead some owners to elect euthanasia as an ultimate solution to the problems they face with their pets.
  • Recently, veterinarians have placed greater emphasis on proper training and behavior modification practices, and specialists working in the field of animal behavior have increasingly adopted drugs used in human behavior for animal use. Clomipramine is one of these drugs, and one of the very few specifically approved for use in dogs.
  • Clomipramine belongs to a class of drugs known as tricyclic antidepressants. It is thought to have effects on serotonin, an important "chemical messenger" found within the brain.
  • Clomipramine is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in animals and humans.
  • Human formulations: Anafranil® (Ciba) and various generic formulations
  • Veterinary formulations: Clomicalm® (Novartis Animal Health)

    Uses of Clomipramine

  • Clomipramine is approved for the treatment of canine behavioral disorders classified as separation anxiety. It has also been used to modify owner-directed dominance aggression in dogs. The latter use is extra-label.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, clomipramine causes side effects in some animals.
  • Clomipramine should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Clomipramine should be used with caution in animals with a known seizure disorder.
  • Clomipramine should be avoided in animals with slow gastrointestinal tracts, heart rhythm abnormalities (cardiac arrhythmias) or glaucoma (elevated pressure in the eye).
  • Animals with liver impairment should be carefully monitored with suitable blood tests while being treated with clomipramine.
  • Clomipramine may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with clompiramine. Such drugs include cimetidine, monoamine oxidase inhibitors and antithyroid medication.
  • The most common adverse effects of clomipramine are inappetance and sedation. An increase in the heart rate may also occur.

    How Clomipramine Is Supplied

  • Clomipramine is available in 20 mg, 25 mg, 40 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg and 80 mg tablets or capsules.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • The canine dose of clomipramine is 1 to 1.5 mg per pound (2 to 3 mg/kg) twice daily.
  • The feline dose of clomipramine is 0.25 to 0.5 mg per pound (0.5 to 1 mg/kg) once daily.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, the pet's therapeutic response to the medication, and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse.
  • Note: This information is supplied by veterinarians. For official prescribing information for this drug, read the article "Clomicalm®."

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