Potassium Bromide for Canine Epilepsy

Potassium bromide has been used since the 1800’s in both animals and humans. Although use has declined in humans due to other antiseizure medications available with fewer side effects, phenobarbital and potassium bromide are still considered standard treatment for long-term management of idiopathic epilepsy in canines (Baird-Heinz, 2012). Potassium bromide is thought to hyperpolarize neuronal membranes which increases the seizure threshold and stabilizes neurons from stimulatory input.  

Loading doses of potassium bromide are advised to achieve therapeutic concentrations of medication since otherwise it generally takes 4-5 half lives (nearly 4 months). This is important when evaluating the effectiveness of the medication and why phenobarbital may be used in conjunction to cover until steady state maintained. This can decrease phenobarbital dosing by as much as 50%, which can greatly alleviate side effect potential. Side effect profile of bromides can include confusion, lethargy, muscle pain, polyuria and polydipsia. 

Compounding prescription drugs can and does greatly help veterinary owners to properly dose and administer medications without unnecessary stress/harm. Potassium bromide is dosed according to the animal’s weight. Compounding enables us the ability to be mindful of the dose relative to volume and flavor restrictions and preferences for the animal. For over 28 years, Pharmacy Solutions has done just that for its veterinary clients and will continue to do so. 

Dosing: Loading dose-100mg/kg by mouth every 6 hours for first 24 hours then Maintenance dose: 35-40mg/kg by mouth once daily 

Baird-Heinz, H. E., Van Schoick, A. L., Pelsor, F. R., Ranivand, L., & Hungerford, L. L. (2012). A systematic review of the safety of potassium bromide in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association240(6), 705–715. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.240.6.705 

Plumb, D. C. (2008). “Bromides”.Plumb’s veterinary drug handbook. Pharmavet; Oxford. 107-108. 

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