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Pimozide (Orap®)

By: Dr. Nicholas Dodman

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Overview

  • Behavioral disorders in dogs and cats are common reasons for veterinary visits. Behavioral problems are also frequent grounds for owners requesting euthanasia of pets, especially when unacceptable or dangerous animal behavior is involved.
  • Recently, veterinarians have begun placing increasing emphasis on behavioral training and behavior modification, and animal behavior specialists have adopted drugs used for modifying human mood and behavior for animal use. Pimozide is one of these drugs.
  • Pimozide produces sedation. How pimozide works is not clearly understood, but it appears to block dopamine receptors.
  • Pimozide is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but may be prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Name and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Orap® (Gate)
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Pimozide

  • Pimozide is a sedative, and has been used to treat motor tics and compulsive disorders.
  • It can also be used to control vomiting.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, pimozide may cause unacceptable side effects in some animals.
  • Pimozide should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • This drug should be used with caution in animals with liver disease, kidney disease, seizures, heart disease, and in older patients.
  • Pimozide should not be used in patients with a history of heart trouble or patients that are not fully conscious.
  • Pimozide may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving will interact with pimozide. Such drugs include barbiturates, narcotics, or anesthetics. In addition, pimozide should not be given along with drugs that alter heart rhythm, such as phenothiazines.
  • Constipation, sedation, or low blood pressure may occur after administration of pimozide.

    How Pimozide is Supplied

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • In dogs, pimozide is dosed at 0.0125 to 0.05 mg per pound (0.025 to 0.1 mg/kg). The dosing interval is not known with certainty, but pimozide may only need to be given every other day or just twice weekly.
  • The dose rate and frequency of administration of pimozide in cats is unknown.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication, and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed otherwise by your veterinarian.



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