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Thread: Tapering off phenobarbital - side effects? Other anti seizure drugs?

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  1. #1
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    Default Tapering off phenobarbital - side effects? Other anti seizure drugs?

    Hello everyone! My pup - well not so pup anymore as Rigby is now 10 months old - was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was only a few months old after a whack of tests showed nothing else was causing her seizures. Our vet and neurologist were concerned that the seizures would become more frequent and dangerous after the last set included 4 in a 24 hour period so she's been on 15mg of phenobarbital twice a day for six months to control the seizures. It's been very successful and she hasn't had a seizure while on the medicine, but now it's time to start tapering her off (from what we understand phenobarbital is not a good long term anti seizure drug as it's hard on the liver; also, we still aren't sure she has full epilepsy as it may simply have been juvenile epilepsy).

    Sooo. We are anxious, of course, that the seizures will return, but we're also wondering what else we can expect when she goes off the medicine. Has anyone had experience weaning off of phenobarbital specifically or other similar drugs? Also, does anyone have positive/negative experiences with other anti seizure medications? I've read in other posts about potassium bromide, which sounds promising.

    Thanks again!

  2. #2
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    I'm so sorry your pup has had seizures. I have no experience weaning off phenobarb, but I did have a German Shepherd with a seizure disorder who was on phenobarb and potassium bromide. The phenobarb could not control the seizures on its own , but once she got on the potassium bromide, she never had another seizure. We had to have the bromide compounded in a special pharmacy and they would send it to me when I was almost out. She had no side effects from the potassium bromide and was on it for the last four years of her life. (Actually, I can't even remember what the side effects were.) She died when she was almost 13 years old. So for her, the potassium bromide was a good medication. There's one positive experience for you. Good luck to you as you navigate this experience for Rigby. Ihope you're successful in weaning himm off the phenobarb.
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

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    my cav maile has been on PB twice a day, also at 15 mg for 3 plus years now. she just had a blood test that tested liver and all other things the PB can effect and her rates were all very good. so no long term effects for her. I can see where you wouldn't want your dog to be on medication it is scary to think it can damage them. I do know PB is habit forming, so your dog will go through some kind of withdrawal, even possibly have more seizures. I thought early on I would try to wean maile off the PB or try another medication, but have given up the idea as I just don't want to chance her seizing again or going through the "experimental" phase of trying different meds, trying to get them to work as well as the PB. maile is very lucky compared to lots of other animals that have seizures, some have seizures even with medications.

    here is a link to a forum for people w/epileptic dogs. lots of great info there. your pup having 4 in 24 hours sounds pretty scary and severe, perhaps someone on the epilepsy forum can give you some more insight. so sorry you are dealing with this. I know when maile had her seizures it was horrifying. hugs to you and Rigby
    http://apple.ease.lsoft.com/archives/epil-k9.html

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    I did have a German Shepherd with a seizure disorder who was on phenobarb and potassium bromide. The phenobarb could not control the seizures on its own , but once she got on the potassium bromide, she never had another seizure.
    Thank you for that positive experience, Love my Cavaliers! I keep coming back to potassium bromide, so maybe we’ll give that one a shot.

    I do know PB is habit forming, so your dog will go through some kind of withdrawal, even possibly have more seizures. I thought early on I would try to wean maile off the PB or try another medication, but have given up the idea as I just don't want to chance her seizing again or going through the "experimental" phase of trying different meds, trying to get them to work as well as the PB. maile is very lucky compared to lots of other animals that have seizures, some have seizures even with medications.
    And thank you so much for the link to the website, Vikki! It’s also good to hear that your Maile has done well on Phenobarbital; Rigby really has, too – her blood and acid bile tests always come back normal, but we keep hearing it’s not a good choice long term – looks like it may not be that simple! We’d really like to skip that experimental phase, too, so maybe we'll think about it long term if her seizures continue with a lower dose.

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