Paradoxical reaction to Xanax (alprazolam)

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Paradoxical reaction to Xanax (alprazolam)

Postby BabyReba » Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:47 pm

Anyone have a dog that's experienced a paradoxical reaction to Xanax? Today I learned that Button, apparently, is one of the small percentage of dogs that become extremely excited and hyper on the stuff ... he's taken it before, but I never remembered him having any negative response to it. Last time we were at the vet, they gave us a slightly higher dose to use before we visit the office because we're trying to make the vet's office a bit less horrifying for him. So I gave him the meds, waited half an hour, put him in the car and we got there, and instead of being relaxed, he was pumped. Totally into everything and more interested in the dogs and people than usual ... it was sort of weird, but not that dramatic until we got home. From about 2 PM until 4, it was like Button was on cocaine. He tore around the house, barked his fool head off almost nonstop, forgot he had any manners and jumped up on the counters looking for food, grabbed things out of my hands, raced in and out of the backyard, and just did not stop moving or making noise. It was nuts.

He's finally crashed out now, but holy awful experience. I don't even think I can describe it well enough to do it justice.

He won't be getting Xanax again, that's for certain, but now I'm afraid to give him anything else in case he ends up wired again! Anyone have a dog that did poorly on one but really well on another?
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Re: Paradoxical reaction to Xanax (alprazolam)

Postby mtlu » Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:28 pm

We tried Xanax for Molly during her post knee surgery recuperation time. We did not experience any response like what Button had but I also felt like it had very little effect on her so discontinued use after a few weeks. I felt like Rescue Remedy and melatonin helped take the edge off Molly but then again, I think her needs post-op were a little different from what Button needs. She developed some mild SA during the recovery period which is why I wanted the help of something like xanax or RR to help keep her a bit more receptive to the things I was trying to keep the SA at bay.

I thought that xanax needed time to build up in the system too? That's why I tried it for a few weeks rather than just a few days and tapered Molly's dosage down when I decided to stop giving it to her rather than stopping her cold turkey. I'm wondering if a jump in dosage for Button could have caused this reaction?
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Re: Paradoxical reaction to Xanax (alprazolam)

Postby BabyReba » Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:09 pm

I think the jump in dosage definitely had something to do with it ... my regular vet isn't in on Sundays, so I'm gonna call him tomorrow to describe what happened and see what he thinks. It was so strange.
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Re: Paradoxical reaction to Xanax (alprazolam)

Postby suzanne » Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:22 pm

Alprazolam, Paxil, Reconcile etc. all have warnings stating they can cause a dog to become more sensitive/reactive/hyper/aggressive.

I have not seen personally, a dog become aggressive or hyper on it. However we had a client who had a cat that had that sort of a reaction and became really hyper and vocal so they had to put her on something else.

I believe alprazolam is in the valium family. It is likely that he might do well on another medication, such as fluoxetine [prozac]. However, again, all of these drugs can cause this kind of reaction so it might just be something you'll have to try and see what happens.
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Re: Paradoxical reaction to Xanax (alprazolam)

Postby DogNerd » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:25 am

Yes! I swear Abner and Button have a lot in common. Abner acts really weird on Xanax - anxious, whining, stumbling, like a drunk frat boy. I tried it a couple of times because the first time I tried it was post-surgery (knee) so I thought the other meds, pain and anesthesia might be affecting his reaction. When I gave it to him again though at a much later date, he had a very similar reaction. I experimented with a smaller dose given to him well in advance of the stressful situation and he didn't have such a strong reaction as before, but neither did it seem to help him with his anxiety so I gave up on it. Surprisingly, Abner actually does really well on acepromazine though I really have only used it a couple of times. I know him well enough to know that it actually does calm him and not just dope him up.
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Re: Paradoxical reaction to Xanax (alprazolam)

Postby BabyReba » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:14 am

he might do well on another medication, such as fluoxetine [prozac]


he's been on prozac for about a year and a half, and it's been a lifesaver ... we were trying to use the xanax as an extra anxiety-reducing med for extra-stressful situations. he has been on it before, but as dognerd says with abner, we never saw a significant reaction (good or bad) so they suggested we increase the dosage ... fortunately his response wasn't aggressive. just extreme insanity. like he was on fast forward.

dognerd, i haven't tried ace with him and i'd be afraid to ... i might just try some good old-fashioned Valerian root next. it certainly won't have a strong effect, but he has also taken that before and it seemed to do OK by him.
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Re: Paradoxical reaction to Xanax (alprazolam)

Postby DogNerd » Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:45 am

Abner is on prozac too. I, like you, wanted to be able to use the xanax for those higher-anxiety producing things like vet visits and long road trips. Abner's reaction sounds really similar except he was also really sloppy in addition to being spazzy and loud and rude. I can totally understand being afraid of ace. I think I didn't really know much about it the first time it was given to him. It was for an emergency minor medical procedure several years back. I remember when I picked him up, he came out from the back definitely out of it, but so sweet. He was going up to all the people in the waiting room and kissing them and everyone thought he was adorable and charming. He is, of course, both those things, but back then he was always too afraid to show it to complete strangers. I think I have only used it two other times and wouldn't use it for a normal vet visit but, honestly, it seems to help Abner much more than Xanax, which actually seems to make him feel much worse and much less able to control himself.
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Paradoxical reaction to Xanax (alprazolam)

Postby mtlu » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:30 pm

Molly had a bad reaction to Ace when I gave it to her at home after her first surgery. With her second surgery, I talked to her surgeon about it so we agreed on Valium. They gave her a Valium when she woke up after the second surgery and she was up and trying to pace after 20 minutes so they gave her Ace. They said she was fine on Ace and monitored her closely since I had reported a bad reaction.

I will still avoid using Ace though - I'm just not comfortable knowing that it can put her in a more confused/fearful state due to the disassociative effects. If the dosage is enough to knock out the dog, then my guess is that would be ok but if the dog is required to still be somewhat conscious, Ace would not be my choice.
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Re: Paradoxical reaction to Xanax (alprazolam)

Postby Misskiwi67 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:52 pm

I'm yet to have that problem in a dog patient, but I've had it twice in cats.

I ALWAYS tell owners to test the dose prior to needing to use it just in case they have a bad reaction. Can you imagine having a cat with Buttons symptoms on a car ride?

From the continuing education I've been to, it seems the problems are almost always related to the high doses, but of course anything is possible.
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Re: Paradoxical reaction to Xanax (alprazolam)

Postby lilangel » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:57 pm

BabyReba wrote:Anyone have a dog that's experienced a paradoxical reaction to Xanax? Today I learned that Button, apparently, is one of the small percentage of dogs that become extremely excited and hyper on the stuff ... he's taken it before, but I never remembered him having any negative response to it. Last time we were at the vet, they gave us a slightly higher dose to use before we visit the office because we're trying to make the vet's office a bit less horrifying for him. So I gave him the meds, waited half an hour, put him in the car and we got there, and instead of being relaxed, he was pumped. Totally into everything and more interested in the dogs and people than usual ... it was sort of weird, but not that dramatic until we got home. From about 2 PM until 4, it was like Button was on cocaine. He tore around the house, barked his fool head off almost nonstop, forgot he had any manners and jumped up on the counters looking for food, grabbed things out of my hands, raced in and out of the backyard, and just did not stop moving or making noise. It was nuts.

He's finally crashed out now, but holy awful experience. I don't even think I can describe it well enough to do it justice.

He won't be getting Xanax again, that's for certain, but now I'm afraid to give him anything else in case he ends up wired again! Anyone have a dog that did poorly on one but really well on another?


Yes I have seen this a few times, once in one of our dogs. I saw the same elevated activity levels and manic episodes but at the same time the dogs seemed to be acutely focused and seemed almost ecstatic about everything in the environment. Like every leave was it's own galaxy of scents. On my own dog I tried a half dose two days later with more muted and satisfactory results. I have not bothered with it since and use L-Tryptophan instead.
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Re: Paradoxical reaction to Xanax (alprazolam)

Postby Red » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:48 pm

Tux can't have Alprazolam either, for the same reasons, Erin. What is the dosage you gave?
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Re: Paradoxical reaction to Xanax (alprazolam)

Postby BabyReba » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:21 pm

With this dose, we had bumped him up from 1 mg to 2 ... so from half pill to a whole one.

Quarter had absolutely no effect on him, and half seemed to make him happy but not necessarily calm ... so we thought a higher dosage might bring happy but calmer. Instead, it went in the other direction. Like Vin describes in the dogs he's seen with this, he had a very heightened sense of his environment, but I can't say I necessarily saw it as being the kind of interest I'd want to encourage in this dog. He was very bold and way overstimulated. And very hungry, too! He never steals food, but he acted like he was starving. I had a plate in my hand and he hopped up on the couch and tried to steal something right off it. Very uncharacteristic. Kind of like he'd lost any impulse control.
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Re: Paradoxical reaction to Xanax (alprazolam)

Postby jtalt7 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:49 pm

MEEEEEEE :) Shocking right?

I got two in the house that I cant dose with xanax. Bozley and Kali. Kal was on CRAAAACCCKKKK and was on the 4th of July as I SWORE I had dosed her before but no, it wasnt her. So 4th of July was interesting to say the least.

Boz was on speed for a couple hours which scared the bejesus out of me since there was a cardiac warning in Plumbs but there is a cardiac warning on everything. Well he went insane, was funny to see and was on his tester dose, thank god.

It was a godsend for Bean though to work through his SA. Dont know what I would have done without trying it.

So I have 2 dogs in my house that are in that 4% . Somehow 50% of my dogs react. Interesting :)
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Re: Paradoxical reaction to Xanax (alprazolam)

Postby Foxy Roxy » Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:53 am

Xanax is in the class of drugs called benzodiazepines. A very powerful and dangerous class of drugs that is way over prescribed and very abused. I personally believe that it should be outlawed, the medical benefits are out weighed by the consequences.

In the case of your dog, the jump in dosage was necessary. You can build a tolerance to xanax even after just one dose. The dog probably didn't have enough, or he was simply enjoying the high.

Bad bad bad drug.
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Re: Paradoxical reaction to Xanax (alprazolam)

Postby buckaroo » Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:42 am

Foxy Roxy wrote:Xanax is in the class of drugs called benzodiazepines. A very powerful and dangerous class of drugs that is way over prescribed and very abused. I personally believe that it should be outlawed, the medical benefits are out weighed by the consequences.

In the case of your dog, the jump in dosage was necessary. You can build a tolerance to xanax even after just one dose. The dog probably didn't have enough, or he was simply enjoying the high.

Bad bad bad drug.

That's insane. There are lots of benzos out there that are extremely therapeutic. You really want to take Ativan and Klonopin away from all epileptics? What do you suppose they should get instead?
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