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Glycopyrrolate (Robinul-V®)

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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Overview

  • Glycopyrrolate is administered to block the effect of certain nervous system impulses (acetylcholine) on receptors throughout the body. In animals it is most often used when an animal is undergoing anesthesia for surgery to block the undesirable effects of nervous system stimulation. The effects of glycopyrrolate are similar to atropine.
  • The involuntary nervous system is divided into the sympathetic (flight or fight response) and parasympathetic branches. In general, these two systems oppose each other.
  • When stimulated, the sympathetic system increases heart rate, blood pressure and cardiac activity.
  • The parasympathetic system, working largely through a nerve called the vagus nerve, slows heart rate, reduces blood pressure, and stimulates gastrointestinal function, salivation and digestion.
  • Cells contain targets, called receptors, that are stimulated by chemicals released from nerves. In the parasympathetic system, the chemical transmitter released by nerves is acetylcholine and the receptors are called muscarinic receptors.
  • Glycopyrrolate blocks the muscarinic receptor and thereby inhibits the effect of acetylcholine, reducing the parasympathetic activity of this chemical.
  • Therefore, glycopyrrolate belongs to the class of drugs known as anti-muscarinic agents. Sometimes they are also called "anti-cholinergics" or "parasympatholytics," terms that also describe the actions.
  • When the muscarinic part of the parasympathetic nervous system is blocked, the sympathetic system becomes more prominent.
  • Glycopyrrolate 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 humans and animals.
  • Human formulations: Robinul® (Robins) and various generic preparations
  • Veterinary formulations: Robinul-V® (Fort Dodge)

    Uses of Glycopyrrolate

  • Glycopyrrolate is used prior to anesthesia for surgery to reduce drooling and respiratory tract secretions.
  • Glycopyrrolate is often administered with many anesthetic agents to prevent slowing of the heart rate.
  • It is also used to treat dangerously slow heart rates and is an important drug in CPR.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, glycopyrrolate can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Glycopyrrolate should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Glycopyrrolate should be used with caution in animals with rapid heart rates or with impaired kidney, heart or liver function.
  • Glycopyrrolate may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with glycopyrrolate. Such drugs include antihistamines, meperidine, diazepam, metoclopramide and some corticosteroids.
  • Some adverse effects include dry mouth, blurred vision, drowsiness or ataxia (a wobbly walking pattern or gait). Because of the dry mouth, glycopyrrolate will cause animals to drink excess water.

    How Glycopyrrolate Is Supplied

  • Glycopyrrolate is available in 0.2 mg/ml injectable concentration in 1 ml, 2 ml, 5ml and 20 ml vials.
  • Glycopyrrolate is also available in 1 mg and 2 mg tablets.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • Glycopyrrolate is dosed at 0.005 to 0.01 mg per pound (0.01 to 0.02 mg/kg) subcutaneous or intramuscular or 0.0025 to 0.005 mg per pound (0.005 to 0.01 mg/kg) intravenous as needed.
  • Glycopyrrolate is typically administered in a hospital setting and is rarely, if ever, prescribed for use at home.





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