Overview of Selegiline HCl for Dogs and Cats
- Selegiline is a complex drug that affects brain function. The drug is also known as L-deprenyl, Eldepryl® and Anipryl®. Used primarily to treat feline and canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (senility in older dogs and cats) and for Cushing’s disease in dogs.
- Selegiline increases the concentration of a nervous system messenger chemical called dopamine. Dopamine stimulates dopamine receptors in the brain.
- With higher levels of dopamine, many cognitive processes are augmented.
- Two seligiline metabolites (breakdown products), amphetamine and metamphetamine, are also stimulants of brain activity.
- Selegiline is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
Brand Names and Other Names of Selegiline HCl
- This drug is registered for use in humans and animals.
- Human formulations: Eldepryl® (Somerset), Atapryl® (Athena), (Zelapar®) and various generic preparations
- Veterinary formulations: Anipryl® (Pfizer)
Uses of Selegiline for Dogs and Cats
- Selegiline is used primarily to treat canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (senility in older dogs).
- It is also used to treat Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism); however, the value of treatment for this condition has been questioned and some experts do not recommend it for this use.
Precautions and Side Effects
- While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, selegiline causes side effects in some animals.
- Selegiline should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
- Selegiline is rarely used in cats.
- Specific criteria for the diagnosis of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome should be fulfilled before treating with selegiline. Other causes of “senility” or abnormal behavior in older dogs should be excluded first, such as disorders of body chemistry, brain tumors and adverse reactions to other medications.
- If used to treat hyperadrenocorticism, selegiline should only be used after the diagnosis of pituitary-based Cushing’s disease has been attained. Selegiline is not helpful in cases of adrenal gland-based Cushing’s disease.
- Selegiline may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with selegiline. Such drugs include narcotics and antidepressants.
- Adverse effects are uncommon but can include vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness or lethargy.
- Due to the presence of the stimulant metabolites, amphetamine and metamphetamine, caution must be used to prevent abuse by unscrupulous persons.
How Selegiline Is Supplied
- Selegiline is available as 2 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg and 30 mg tablets.
- Oral dispersible tablets are available as 1.25 mg (Zelapar®)
- Transdermal patches are available in 6 mg/24 hours, 9 mg/24 hours, 12 mg/24 hour strengths.
Dosing Information of Selegiline HCl for Dogs and Cats
- Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
- To treat Canine Cognitive Dysfunction and hyperadrenocorticism, a starting dose of 0.25 to 0.5 mg per pound (0.5 to 1 mg/kg) once daily in the morning is typical. Two to four weeks of therapy may be required to see improvement in dogs with cognitive dysfunction.
- The dog should be re-evaluated two months later and the dose may need to be increased at that time.
- To treat Feline Cognitive Dysfunction syndrome, the dose sued is 0.125 mg to 0.5 mg per pound (0.25 mg/kg to 1 mg/kg) once daily.
- 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 by your veterinarian. Even if your pet appears to be feeling better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse or prevent the development of resistance.