Amitriptyline hydrochloride is a tricyclic antidepressant used to control various behavior problems in dogs and cats. It may also be used to control some types of pain as well as severe itching. Best results are achieved with most behavior drugs by simultaneous use of behavior modification training. Amitryptiline is available as an oral liquid or as tablets or capsules.
What is this drug?
A tricyclic antidepressant used to control various behavior disorders and neuropathic pain and severe itching in dogs and cats
Reason for prescribing:
Treat excessive grooming, separation anxiety or generalized anxiety in dogs
Treat excessive grooming, urine spraying and anxiety in cats
Prevent itching in dogs
Treat neuropathic pain (chronic pain due to nerve injury)
May decrease signs of urinary tract inflammation in cats
What dogs/cats should not take this medication?
Pets that have shown a prior sensitivity to other tricyclic drugs or like products before
Pets that are presently using monoamine oxidase inhibitors
Use with extreme caution in pets with a history of seizures, as the seizure threshold is lowered
Use with caution in pets with thyroid disorders, liver disorders, KCS ('dry eye' syndrome), glaucoma, cardiac rhythm disorders, diabetes or adrenal tumors
Give medication as directed by your veterinarian. Read and follow the label carefully.
Give the exact amount prescribed and only as often as directed. It is normally given once or twice a day.
Give this medication for as long as your veterinarian directs. Do not stop giving it suddenly as it must be tapered off slowly in order to prevent the animal suffering uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Call ahead for refills.
Ideally, give the medication at the same time daily.
What if dose is missed?
If a dose is missed, give it as soon as you can. If it is time already for the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to the normal schedule. Do not give two doses at the same time.
What results should I expect?
It may take several weeks before effects of the medication are noted.
What to tell/ask veterinarian before giving medication?
Talk to your veterinarian about:
Signs of the condition your pet has
When will your pet need to be rechecked
What tests may need to be performed prior to and during treatment with this drug
Risks and benefits of using this drug
Tell your veterinarian about:
If your pet has experienced side-effects on other drugs/products
If your pet has experienced digestive upset now or ever
If your pet has experienced liver or kidney disease now or ever
If your pet has experienced any other medical problems or allergies now or ever
All medicines (including tick collars) and supplements that you are giving your pet or plan to give your pet, including those you can get without a prescription. Your veterinarian may want to check that all of your pet's medicines can be given together.
If your pet is pregnant or nursing or if you plan to breed your pet
Storage and Warnings:
Keep in a cool, dry place at room temperature.
People should not take this product. Keep this and all medication out of reach of children and pets. Call your physician immediately if you accidentally take this product.
Potential side effects:
Dogs: sedation, hyperexcitability, seizures, disorientation, faster heart rate, dry mouth (frequent licking of lips), bone marrow suppression, low platelet count (bruising), urine retention, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, or various endocrine effects
Signs of an allergic reaction could include: facial swelling, hives, scratching, sudden onset of diarrhea, vomiting, shock, seizures, pale gums, cold limbs, or coma
If you notice anything unusual, contact your veterinarian
Can this drug be given with other drugs?
The following drugs can potentially interact with amitriptyline: amitraz, antithyroid drugs (medicine for overactive thyroid), barbiturates, cimetidine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, sedatives and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (Anipryl®).
Overdosing with tricyclics can be life threatening. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet eats more than the prescribed amount.
What else should I know?
This is just a summary of information about amitriptyline. If you have any questions or concerns about amitriptyline or the condition it was prescribed for, contact to your veterinarian.
As with all prescribed medicines, amitriptyline should only be given to the dog/cat for which it was prescribed. It should be given only for the condition for which it was prescribed. It is important to periodically discuss your pet's response to amitriptyline at regular check ups. Your veterinarian will best determine if your pet is responding as expected and if your pet should continue receiving amitriptyline.
Common Drug Name
Common Brand Names
Generic products are available.
Refrigerate oral suspension. Store other forms at room temperature. Protect injectable form from light and freezing.
Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant, and should be used in combination with behavior modification techniques.
Dogs: Used to treat anxiety disorders.
Cats: Used to treat anxiety disorders, excessive grooming, and urine spraying.
Dose and Administration
Always follow the dosage instructions provided by your veterinarian. If you have difficulty giving the medication, contact your veterinarian.
Give the oral form with food to decrease the risk of side effects such as vomiting.
Amitriptyline in tablet form is very bitter, and it may be difficult to give in pill form. Compounding pharmacies can make an oral liquid form or transdermal (topical) gel, which may be easier to administer.
If using the transdermal gel, apply to the skin as directed by your veterinarian.
If you miss a dose, give it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to the regular schedule. Do not give 2 doses at once.
Changes in dosage or discontinuation of therapy should be done gradually.
This medication should only be given to the pet for whom it was prescribed.
Possible Side Effects
Dogs: May see an increase in excitability or sedation; lack of appetite, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea; increased appetite and weight gain; increased water consumption, caused by dry mouth; abnormal heart rhythms, which may cause weakness or collapse; bone marrow suppression with anemia, causing weakness and pale gums; or low platelets, causing an increased tendency to bruise or bleed.
Cats: May see drooling, sedation, urinary retention, loss of appetite, vomiting, constipation; increased appetite and weight gain; increased water consumption, caused by dry mouth; unkempt hair coat; incoordination, disorientation; abnormal heart rhythms, which may cause weakness or collapse; or low platelets, causing an increased tendency to bruise or bleed.
Cats being treated with the gel form may develop a skin condition where it is applied and possibly scratch the area. If this occurs, contact your veterinarian.
Consult your veterinarian if you notice any of these side effects.
If your pet experiences an allergic reaction to the medication, signs may include facial swelling, hives, scratching, sudden onset of diarrhea, vomiting, shock, seizures, pale gums, cold limbs, or coma. If you observe any of these signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Do not use in animals hypersensitive (allergic) to tricyclic antidepressants.
Use with extreme caution in animals with seizure disorders/epilepsy, diabetes mellitus, liver disease, or heart disease.
Consult with your veterinarian regarding the physical examinations (including an EKG) and laboratory testing necessary prior to and during treatment with amitriptyline.
Do not use in pregnant or lactating animals (female animals nursing their young).
Children are very sensitive to the seizure-inducing and heart effects of the medication. Keep the medication out of their reach.
Drug, Food, and Test Interactions
Consult your veterinarian before using amitriptyline with vitamins, supplements, ephedrine, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as selegiline (deprenyl, Anipryl) or amitraz (an ingredient in some tick collars, and in Mitaban, a treatment for mange), anticholinergic medications (atropine), central nervous system (CNS) depressants, or sympathomimetic agents like phenylpropanolamine (Proin, Cystolamine), methimazole, or other antithyroid drugs, or cimetidine, since interactions may occur.
May alter blood glucose levels.
Signs of Toxicity/Overdose
Can be very toxic, in overdoses, to humans and pets. Large overdoses can cause death. May see sedation; abnormal heart rhythms and low blood pressure, which may cause weakness or collapse; seizures; or coma.
If you know or suspect your pet has had an overdose, or if you observe any of these signs in your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Keep this and all other medications out of the reach of children and pets.
This information may not cover all possible uses, directions, side effects, precautions, allergic reactions, drug interactions, or withdrawal times. Always consult your own veterinarian for specific advice concerning the treatment of your pet.