Meclizine Hydrochloride

(for veterinary information only)

BRAND NAMES: BONINE, ANTIVERT, MECLIZINE HYDROCHLORIDE

Available in                
25 mg                    
CHEWABLE TABLETS;      
12.5 mg, 25 mg, and 50 mg    
NON-CHEWABLE TABLETS;
and                      
25 mg and 30 mg             
CAPSULES                

BACKGROUND

Motion sickness is an important problem for many pets and while the commonly prescribed acepromazine has many benefits as an antinausea drug its long-acting tranquilizing properties make it inconvenient for short trips. Fortunately, there are more appropriate alternatives. Ideally, for short-term relief of carsickness, we would like a medication with minimal side effects, that does not yield long lasting drowsiness, and is conveniently dosed. Although meclizine hydrochloride is a human medication, it has proved to be quite helpful for relief of nausea in our pets.

HOW THIS MEDICATION IS USED

Meclizine hydrochloride is generally used for nausea relief due to motion sickness. It is also used to control the nausea resulting from vestibular disease, a syndrome characterized by vertigo and loss of balance.

For the prevention of motion sickness, meclizine hydrochloride should be given approximately 30 minutes before travel.

SIDE EFFECTS

Meclizine hydrochloride is a member of the piperazine class of antihistamines. It may produce some drowsiness though nothing like the 6 to 8 hours of tranquilization yielded by its cousin, acepromazine.

Most antihistamines have potential to cause any of a group of symptoms referred to as anticholinergic symptoms: urinary retention, dry mouth, increased heart rate, and exacerbation of glaucoma (elevated pressure within the eye). It may also reduce the ability to produce milk in lactating mothers.

INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER DRUGS

Meclizine hydrochloride should not be given in conjunction with other tranquilizing drugs as such a combination may lead to excess sedation.

CONCERNS AND CAUTIONS

  • Meclizine hydrochloride is known to cause birth defects in experimental animals and thus should not be used in pregnant pets.
     
  • Due to its potential to reduce milk production, meclizine hydrochloride should not be given to nursing mothers.
     
  • Meclizine hydrochloride should not be given to patients who are at risk for urinary retention (prostate enlargement, spinal disease, etc.)
     
  • Because meclizine hydrochloride is an antihistamine, it may interfere with intradermal skin testing for allergy. Check with your veterinary dermatologist about how long to wait after this medication has been used before skin testing can be scheduled.
     
  • Meclizine hydrochloride should not be given to patients with a history of heart failure.
     
  • Meclizine hydrochloride use may interfere with allergic skin testing in patients undergoing evaluation for inhalant allergies.
     
  • Meclizine hydrochloride activity can be expected to be prolonged in patients with liver disease.
     
  • Patients who do not tolerate meclizine hydrochloride might do better with maropitant citrate, an antinauseal medication developed and labeled for the treatment of motion sickness in pets.

Page last updated: 2/28/2012
Page last reviewed: 3/9/2014