BRAND NAMES: ACEPROTABS, PROMACE
HOW THIS MEDICATION IS USED
Although acepromazine has several actions that might be useful, it is mostly used as a tranquilizer. Strong anti-nauseal properties make this medication an excellent choice for traveling pets prone to both excessive restlessness and motion sickness.
Acepromazine also can stabilize the rhythm of the heart in certain situations, meaning that it can slow the heart rate or prevent a fear-induced excessively rapid heart rate. This is especially helpful for highly sensitive patients who get so frightened they can actually suffer a "heart attack" from fear.
Acepromazine is commonly used to prepare animals for general anesthesia.
Acepromazine is also classified as an antihistamine; however, due to its strong tranquilizing properties it would not be used as such.
There is some controversy about the use of this medication in situations that stimulate a panic reaction (thunderstorms, fireworks etc.). While acepromazine makes patients drowsy, there is some thinking that it heightens the perception of loud noises. Many behaviorists feel that other medications such alprazolam or dexmedetomidine, may be superior in these situations though acepromazine has certainly been the mainstay for pet tranquilization for decades.
Acepromazine is given 30-60 minutes before the triggering event. Often a range of dosing is recommended such that if a lower dose is ineffective after a specific time period, more can be given. Be sure to follow your veterinarian's recommendation on dosing.
In summary, Acepromazine is used for:
Acepromazine is a long lasting tranquilizer. It should be expected to last 6-8 hours.
In extremely rare instances, some pets exhibit aggressive behavior as a reaction to acepromazine.
Acepromazine drops blood pressure by dilating blood vessels. The strong tranquilization effect precludes the use of acepromazine in the treatment of high blood pressure.
Dogs and cats on acepromazine typically bring up their third eyelids. Many pet owners are unaware that their pet has an extra eyelid so we have included the graphic below. There are no negative effects to the prolapse of the third eyelid but it is helpful to the owner to recognize this side effect so as not to become alarmed.
Acepromazine use can impart a pinkish or even brownish-red color to urine. This is normal and is of no harm or significance.
(original graphic by marvistavet.com)
Many dogs of herding breed (especially collie) heritage have been found to have a mutant gene, called the MDR-1 mutation. This gene codes for what is called the "P-glycoprotein." The P-glycoprotein is involved in keeping certain biochemicals/drugs OUT of certain body tissues. Dogs with mutant P-glycoproteins, allow more biochemicals/drugs INTO certain body tissues. In the case of acepromazine, dogs with this mutation will be sensitive to acepromazine and become more sedated than expected. Dose adjustments would be required. There is now a test for the MDR-1 mutation so that these dogs can be identified. This is a DNA test using an oral swab. Test kits can be ordered directly from the Washington State University Veterinary School via:
INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER DRUGS
Acepromazine should not be used with organophosphate insecticides. This type of insecticide is not commonly used anymore but might be expected in certain types of flea collars and in outdoor flea treatment products.
Giving acepromazine in conjunction with antacids will decrease the effect of acepromazine.
The use of acepromazine in conjunction with quinidine (a heart medication) could lead to adverse heart reactions. Heart rhythm disturbances can result when acepromazine is used concurrently with cisapride or metronidazole.
Concurrent use of acepromazine and metoclopramide (a nausea medication), can enhance the potential for neurologic side effects of metoclopramide.
Combining acepromazine with opiates can lead to a significant drop in blood pressure.
Combining acepromazine with acetaminophen can lead to a significant drop in body temperature.
CONCERNS AND CAUTIONS
Acepromazine use can impart a pinkish or even brownish-red color to urine.
Page last updated: 3/19/2019