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A New Treatment for Canine Idiopathic Epilepsy: Pexion

A New Treatment for Canine Idiopathic Epilepsy: Pexion

We recently wrote about canine idiopathic epilepsy, a form of epilepsy where the cause remains unknown. Today we are looking at a new treatment; Pexion.

The severity of epilepsy can vary greatly between individual sufferers. Some dogs may experience a single, isolated seizure, whilst other can experience multiple seizures every week.

Recently Boehringer Ingelheim has announced their latest product for the treatment of canine epilepsy, Pexion® (Pexion) an alternative to the traditional phenobarbital or potassium bromide treatments given to epileptic dogs.

Are you using Pexion?

If you’re dog has been prescribed Pexion, let us know how your dog is getting on in the comments below. Join the discussion on how other dog owners are getting on with Pexion and keep the community updated with your progress. 

What Is Pexion?

Unlike other treatments for canine epilepsy, Pexion contains the active ingredient Imepitoin. Imepitoin acts in a similar manner to previous anti-epileptic medicines, potassium bromide and phenobarbital, in that it works to suppress electrical activity in the brain.

Imepitoin partially activates GABA receptors, which are responsible for reducing electrical activity between nerve cells. This partial activation of the GABA receptors is believed to reduce electrical activity and help prevent seizures. Specifically, Imepitoin also has a weak blocking effect on calcium channels that allow electrical signals to be propagated along nerve cells.

See here for more information about Pexion 

Does Pexion Work?

A study conducted on Pexion during its development compared it to the traditional anti-epileptic medicine phenobarbital. A 20 week study of 226 dogs taking the medications found Pexion matched phenobarbital in efficacy, reducing the occurence of seizures by around 50%. 1

Is Pexion a Better Alternative?

The Pexion study showed that it had an effectiveness equivalent to phenobarbital, however, Pexion may be considered a better alternative as it has less severe side effects.

Unlike phenobarbital, Pexion does not pose a hepatotoxicity risk (liver toxicity). This means the regular testing required to ensure that a dog’s liver remains healthy is not needed whilst being given Pexion.

Treating the Epileptic Dog

It is commonly cited that around 0.5 to 5% of dogs suffer from some form of epilepsy, the severity varying between breeds and individuals. In dogs where seizures occur infrequently  owners may consider not using any medication at all, avoiding the side effects associated with anti-epileptic medications.

In dogs where seizures occur more freqently, such as once a month or more, treatment should be considered.

The introduction of Pexion gives owners and vets a greater choice when it comes to treatment, but does not replace phenobarbital and potassium bromide.

Owners should consult their vet and explore all the possibilities when dealing with an epileptic dog.

Seizure Types That Require Immediate Veterinary Assistance

Cluster seizures – When multiple seizures occur in one 24 hour period
Status epilepticus – A persistent epileptic state that lasts for longer than 5 minutes

For more information about epilepsy, such as the causes, what to do during a seizure and more, see this article.

Disclaimer: This article was written as a response to the release of Pexion and as a follow up to a previous article concerning idiopathic epilepsy. I am not affiliated with the product (Pexion) or the manufacturer (Boehringer). 

Image Credit: Onkel_wart

About James Watts

BSc Bioveterinary Science. Editor of PetSci. When I'm not writing, learning, discussing, or reading about animals, you know it's the weekend!

522 comments

  1. I have read so many reports of dogs having problems with this drug and I see
    a petition has been started up to get Boehringer to make further studies.

    http://tinyurl.com/pzfo7hg

    There is a report available online http://tinyurl.com/p5o2ngr :

    The pharmacological response to imepitoin (this is Pexion) may vary and
    efficacy may not be complete. Nevertheless Imepitoin is considered to be a
    suitable treatment option in some dogs because of its safety profile (see
    Section 5.1). On treatment, some dogs will be free of seizures, in other
    dogs a reduction of the number of seizures will be observed, whilst others
    may be non-responders. In non-responders, an increase in seizure frequency
    may be observed. Should seizures not be adequately controlled, further
    diagnostic measures and other antiepileptic treatment should be considered.
    The benefit/risk assessment for the individual dog should take into account
    the details in the product literature.3
    The efficacy of the veterinary medicinal product in dogs with status
    epilepticus and cluster seizures has not been investigated. Therefore,
    imepitoin should not be used as primary treatment in dogs with cluster
    seizures and status epilepticus. Transition to other types of antiepileptic
    therapy should be done gradually and with appropriate clinical supervision.

  2. My 8yr. old Yorkshire Terrier has been on Pexion for idiopathic epilepsy The dosage has been increased over time from 100mgs bd to 200mgs bd It has gone up again this week to 250mgs bd because his fits have not decreased from an average of 4/6 per month. If this does not reduce the number of fits my vet is considering adding Potassium Bromide. Pexion does not appear to be reducing the number of fits,which is concerning me because of the prospect of having to get him to swallow more tablets.

  3. My irish setter has been trialling Pexion along with Epiphen and still continues to fit. I was recommended to trial Pexion as the long term use of Epiphen and Libromide has a detrimental effect on the liver.

    My dogs seizure patterns is unchanged.

  4. Hi,
    Can anyone tell me the name of the vitamin that is supposed to protect a dogs liver when taking Epiphen that you can buy on pet meds?
    Many thanks

    • It’s not a vitamin it’s a supplement called milk thistle, in a tincture is easier to administer as well.

    • Please please all of you who have dogs with epilepsy, try a RAW diet for your dogs, which does mean a RAW lamb or beef bone every day or every other day. Raw meat, raw veg. Raw chicken wings. Its so easy to do, none of this horrid dried food full of chemicals. |Dogs used to live in the wild eating raw food, so why are we changing all of their natural diet. Most dogs develop peridontal disease if they are never given bones to grind their teeth on. This in itself can lead to heart problems, skin infections, seizures etc. I have read so many books on how to feed a dog a raw diet.
      It was too late for my old collie who had seizures for a year before she was put to sleep. It seems to me that pexion only works for a year if at all for many dogs. If I had had my time again, I would never have used such a new drug. I have heard over a thousand bad reports about this drug and there are clearly very few benefits that I can see.

      All the best to you all.

      Elizabeth

      • Dear Elizabeth
        I came to the same conclusion for my epileptic collie and fed a raw diet, unfirtunately after being on pexion for 2 months she was put to skeep as the fits took over (she over 30 seizures a day the last 2 weekends) before my said to let her go. There are sone really could groups on facebook offering excellent advice and support about starting raw feeding for animals.
        Amanda

  5. Hi
    It has been upsetting to read the more recent posts regarding the deaths of some contributors’ dogs.
    However, for balance, I have felt compelled to sign up and contribute to the debate.
    I have had a 3 1/2 year old male Giant Schnauzer on Pexion now for just over 12 months.
    His seizures were initially around 6 weeks apart, normally two or three over a 2 hour period. His recovery was always rapid.
    When his seizures started recurring every 4 weeks and with increased intensity, he was put on Pexion, initially 800mg every 12 hours. This worked with remarkable success for 6 months, during which he didn’t have a single episode.
    We then had an awful breakthrough cluster with him seizing every couple of hours through the night hours, for which we also had to administer rectal diazepam, I recall it being 40mg. Again, the result was the seizures stopped and he was back to his normal self again the next day.
    Pexion was increased to 1200mg every 12 hours.
    Again, we had a period of relative bliss with no seizures for a couple of months.
    Inevitably, he again suffered a prolonged episode, lasting over 48 hours. Diazepam was again used, but the duration of the episode was worrying.
    Five weeks on, he had yet another prolonged episode. However, now on 1400mg of Pexion twice a day, each seizure was significantly less intense than the previous time.
    I feel we have have gone through a process of finding the right dose of Pexion for him and his weight, as I do suspect we would have had far more episodes were it not for the Pexion.
    Touch wood, we have had no further seizure for just over a month now. Our Vet has advised me maintain the current dose, but has warned we will inevitably still get breakthroughs occasionally.
    He seems to have had none of the side effects others have been unfortunate to witness and catalogue and for now, I’m maintaining the faith with this drug; he is alert, active, a good weight, though his propensity to drink like a fish has caused the occasional Lake Windermere sized accident in the house.
    It has been no fun coping with and clearing up after a 55kg epileptic dog, but Pexion seems on balance to have eventually brought the condition under control, atleast in his case.

    • Post script to add: He has been raw fed from being weaned. We have supplemented his medication with Valerian and Skull cap from Dorwest.

    • It’s really good to see another positive comment on here. My 25kg labradoodle has been on Pexion for 18 months now. He started on 400mg twice a day and after a period of seizures in January we upped it to 600mg morning and 400mg in the evening. He had a few seizures in February and March so we upped it to 600mg twice a day. He has only had one seizure since this which was back in June. He has no side effects and is not overly hungry or thirsty.

      I have also started feeding him a raw diet . I have no idea whether this helps, but I have my happy, healthy dog back. Long may it last.

    • I totally agree it is nice to read something positive about Pexion. My border collie who will be 3 in February was diagnosed in March last year. It has been trial and error getting the dose right but he has been 6 weeks so far since his last one which was a 12 1/2 week gap from the previous one so I was really pleased with this. It is awful living with a dog with this condition as especially during the night any unusual sounds has me awake and he makes plenty of them during the night!!! He’s not a very good sleeper very restless. But I would never give up on him. He has other problems, he is deaf and has hip dysplasia as well.
      I am convinced food plays a huge part in this condition. I only feed him natural kibble from the Natural Dog Food Company. His only treat is one Dentastix a day and I read a few months ago a vet who recommended Omega 3 & 6 to be beneficial for dogs with epilepsy. I buy these from Treasure Your Health, they are on the net and really quick at delivery. They are in fact Omega 3,6 & 9. So whether it is the Omega working with the Pexion that has helped him, I am not sure but I think it has played a big part. All the people who have not had any luck with Pexion do need to look seriously at what they are feeding their dogs.
      Janet

      • Hello janet.

        food does play a massive part you are quite right. We are what we eat and the same applies to dogs. Feeding raw is easy once you get used to it. Having lost my female collie at 13 to epilepsy, I now feed my one yr old Collie RAW. He is happy , healthy and the vets say What a wonderful coat he has” I give him Brewers Yeast tablets, 4 a day as Jock is 17 kg. That avoids using the chemical Frontline or Advocate. Fleas do not like the smell of garlic and B vitamins in the yeast. I then give him 2/3 raw meat ( beef, chicken, lamb, venison, rabbit, turkey) raw mashed veg (any veg) teaspoon of baked beans (organic) Natural yoghurt, 1 teas, Cottage Cheese 1 teas. Porridge oats, (soaked for few hours) 2 tabl brown cooked rice. Teas organic peanut butter. He also has a Raw meaty bone every other day to keep his teeth clean, white and avoid periodontal disease which in itself can cause fits.

        it sounds complicated, but its dead easy and dogs love it. No more kibble of any sort, not even the so called” Natural” Treats are raw carrots or banana or apple.

        Dogs also do not need parvo injections every year. This only lines the pockets of the vets and can cause complications.

        All the best,

        Elizabeth

  6. It is also correct to say that a home-cooked diet is helping a ton of dogs,
    or a liver cleansing diet. And, believe it or not, many prescription diets
    DO help. But it does not mean that every dog will suit the same diet.

    There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to feeding dogs – or people, for
    that matter. A raw diet is not recommended for dogs with liver disease and
    before my dog was diagnosed with liver disease he simply would not touch
    raw food, neither would his mummy. So he knew better than I did what he
    needed.

    Also, my old dog, Sam, came to us as a rescue and, same as all my dogs
    back then (1998) he was started on a raw diet. Within months it was obvious
    that this diet simply did not suit him, he was awfully poorly, vomiting
    constantly, losing weight even though he loved his food. Eventually he was
    put on what was then Walthams Capelin & Tapioca kibble, now it is Royal
    Canin Sensitivity Control. Sam thrived on that and lived to be a very old
    boy of somewhere between 15 and 17 years old.

    My friend has always fed her dogs kibble and her dogs have always ended up
    being around 16 years old when they die, unlike mine who never used to live
    past 13½ years old, except my first epi, who lived on a homecooked
    diet and she lived until she was 14½ and died of throat and liver cancer.
    My 15-yr-old who came to us last January, was fed kibble or canned for
    her first 14 years, she was terribly neglected, obese, scruffy, smelly,
    diagnosed with Cushings the week after we adopted her. But she has lived
    all these years on what I would not feed my dogs.

    So I would never say that one diet or another whether raw, kibble, canned,
    homecooked is best. And I get really angry with anyone who says that one
    diet and one diet only is best.

    I fed raw for 12 years and my vet visits were not fewer, my dogs’ health was
    o better than when I homecooked and now homecook again.

  7. My dog who is 4 has been on this medication for 2 months now and henis on 400mg twice a day and still fitting on them. His last fitvwas 1e days ago and now today at 5.45am he had a small fit lasting 30secs and then again at 8.30am and that lasted 30 secs. We spoke to our vet and going to tp company who make these tabs if we can give him one an half. We have been told to see a neruo surgeon but its expensive. Any adbise would be helpfull as we are so concerned and we have a 8 yr ols female staff whonwe always keep apart.

    • Janice, my dog didn’t stop fitting on Pexion, he is now on PB and doing so well, I didnt like the drug at all, another friend changed her dog as well onto PB and his fits are non existent as well

    • Pheno barb, or epiphen. I saw a neuro guy in Bristol, we had MRI and a full work up but found nothing. He was the European specialist in Epilepsy and he said his first choice of drug is PB interestingly enough even though its an old drug. My boy was having a series of fites every few weeks and it was dreadfuly distressing for him, his post ictal stage would last for hours, touch wood we have been fit free for over 6 months now

      • Phenobarb is probably the most effective and the cheapest anti-epileptic drug on the market. I was using it back in the 90s for one of my epis and when my current epi (I’ve had a few!) started to have fits I had no hesitation in putting her on pheno. You just need to make sure that the liver enzymes are checked regularly – my dogs’ internal medicine specialist in Cheshire thinks it better to have bile acid stimulation tests as that is a better indicator of liver function. You can help counter any damage to the liver by giving milk thistle.

      • Yeah I googled it and spoke to my husband andbhe spoke with vet today and vets checkin if we can put him on one an half pills even though he all ready on 400mg twice a day. Our dog is havin two its a month. Before he was on meds his fits were bad 5 fits a day he was having, because of the toxic levels in his body, he was poisoned in a field were we walk our dogs and out the blue he started havin fits bad ones. Vet done blood tests and his levels was 1157 were a dogs level should be 120. But hisnliver was damaged to wat he had eaten producing toxins intonhis body causin him to fit. Thats was 3mths ago all this started and he now on meds and still fitting, I know on these tabs he will still have the occasional fit but two in a space of hour an a half. Me an my husband are so worried he is only a baby 4yrs old just turned in may.we dont want to loose him , he like our child, we love this dog and seein him suffer likenthis in killing us but thank you for your advise muchly appercaited.

  8. its a horrid thing for any dog to have, with Pexion you can up the dose, but I would seriously ask you vet to consider swapping you onto PB

    • There are responders and non responders to Pexion,the drug literature states that it’s not recommended for cluster fits and can worsen them. You can increase dose but PB was always effective in fit control. If liver is Ok, Pexion does not offer any advantage! Try liver protection measures as seen in the site before. Talk to your vet about combo drugs. Dog epilepsy is horrible!

  9. M dog Daisy started taking Epiphen 10 weeks ago. She is slowly being weaned off of Pexion, her Pexion is decreased by a quarter each month, finger crossed she has been fit free for 10 weeks since starting the Epiphen! next week her Pexion is being decreased for the last time and she will no longer be taking Pexion in a months time. I am so happy going 10 weeks with no fits where as before she was fitting twice a week and had an awful episode of cluster fits, which nearly killed her and never happened before starting Pexion. Janice I do hope that you find the right tablets for your furbaby.

  10. Our little fur baby Cassie started having seizures end of August, and then 3 weeks later had two seizures both between 2-4.30am and went to the vets, nothing wrong with blood but put on 400mg Pexion (she is a chihuahua/staffy cross). next seizure was 11 days later, then 3 1/2 weeks later, had 2 seizures within 36 hours. Next seizure was 12 days later and most recent this morning, 12 days later (8th seizure in 12 weeks) . She had just extracted herself from my side under the covers, went over to the edge of the bed to see ‘dad’ I recognised a certain shake of the bed turned over and her head was erect and mouth slightly open (like when you look up and turn head slightly, mouth slightly open and it locks). They seem to last about 15 seconds, and she becomes incontinent (no1) and once recovers, goes downstairs and does a no2. She bruised her eye prior to the first seizure (which may be the cause and it is still a little bulgy and red, and her vision does seem impaired. I have not noticed any changes in her behaviour, but close patterns of seizures would concern me and am keeping notes of when they happen. Reading these posts, do have concerns, that the Pexion that will increase them. This knocks the stuffing out of me when they occur. As she sleeps with me I am conscious of certain movements and pressure when she lays on a certain side which over time may be leading to the seizures and sometimes wake up to check if responsive, mostly OK. . We rehomed her Jan 10 so do not exactly know her history or true age. She has always been my shadow and follows me around the house, so no change there, still a little dynamo. Just find it upsetting and makes me cry just writing this.

  11. my boder collie is 3 years old and js on pexion 400mg.one and a half twice a day.the vet said she would be on them for the rest of her life,is this right

    • If your BC has been diagnosed as having idiopathic epilepsy then yes, she will be on medication for the rest of ehr life. Not necessarily Pexion, if she doesn’t do ell on it, but expect her to be on medicaiton for the rest of her life. It is a life-changer, not just for the dog but for the family, too.

  12. mijn hond krijgt ni Pexion 100 mg en 2 tabletten per dag. Die mogen we volgend de dierenarts tegelijk geven.
    In de bijsluiter staat verdelen over 2 momenten met tussentijd van 10 uur??
    Ik geef onze hond nu om 17.30 uur 2 tabletten van 100 mg en vraag me af wat het beste is??
    Kan iemand advies hierin geven??

  13. The vet prescribed Pexion Friday 5 December 2014. Bailey has been on it since that day. No seizures as yet and no side effects either. I am hopeful, the only downside is the cost as insurance will not pay. At least he is seizure free at the moment.

    • Dear Dianne
      Check the price your vet is charging you, and how much they charge to write a prescription. Then go online at http://www.petdrugsonline.co.uk and see if it’s cheaper to buy that way. Pet drugs online are usually cheaper, they don’t issue prescription meds without your vets prescription and delivery is free over £20 I think. Vets don’t always let you know that you are able to source your own medication, especially when insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions.
      Hope this is helpful. Good luck.
      Amanda

    • Hello Diane.

      Shani’s epilepsy isn’t covered by her insurance and so I shopped around to see what the prices were at the various online pharmacies. You can get a precription from your vet – he will charge but hopefully not too much, I pay £12 for Shani’s. But I found that one month’s supply of meds from my vet was almost the same as three months’ supply bought from a chemist online. I get the prescriptions (Shani is on 3 AEDs), send them to the pharamcy, they phone me for payment and I get the drug back and all that takes less than seven days. That is up to the far north of Scottland from a pharmacy down in Leicestershire.

  14. My border collie is 4 yrs old and has epilepsy one per week for a year. She is on Pb and Potassium Bromide. Her seizures are once in a week and lasts about 1 minute. Last week we were introduced to Pexion by our vet in an attempt to reduce the frequency of seizures; and we started on Monday at 200 mg twice a day. No Pb or Potassium Bromide was given. Her first seizure started on the first day. Today the second day she got another seizure followed by a third 15 hours later. I am worried she will get into a cluster of seizures. Can you advise what I should do?

    • Hi Gregory,

      Have you read the previous comments about this medication? It seems like this medication only work for 30 % of the pets and the rest 70% actually end up having more seizures and cluster or seizures and worst case is they did. I myself was in the unlucky group my dog was on Pheno B. For 2 years with no major problems but it was a struggle to take blood from her so it was more convenient for her vet to put her on pexion which was great for 2 months as she had no seizures but when she started having her first fit again she just couldn’t stop and had over 12 seizures in 6 hours and unfortunately when I took her to the emergency clinic they had to induce coma for her to check why the seizure don’t stop and by the time her lab came back she was gone. Her heart has stopped :( she was my everything and it was a terrible mistake to put her on Pexion even the emergency vet said Pelion is not fully approved yet and it doesn’t work on cluster seizures. So I would recommend you to go back to your vet and take your dog off of Pexion and put him back on Pheno also I would check what food he is eating because often seizures are caused due to food allergy

    • Gregory

      PLEASE get your dog to a vet urgently – one who understands anti epileptic medication. You must NEVER just stop phenobarbitone – it could kill your dog. If you do want to stop PB it must be done very gradually (months) with a vets supervision and another drug at optimum levels in place which takes time. Kbr should be continued if you are using Pexion in place of Pb. PLEASE PLEASE talk to a vet NOW!

      • Couldn’t agree more, no vet should ever stop medication for epilepsy. And why don’t more vets read about pexion and look at sites like this for feedback. It is so sad the number of dogs lost so far, my Izzy was amongst the first . I lost my beloved girl in September 2013 we couldn’t stop the fits and also had to be sedated 2 saturdays running after having fits all day non-stop. My thoughts go out to everyone who is in this continuous struggle with epileptic pets.
        Amanda Kirkman

    • Gregory – your vet simply does not know what he or she is doing!!! Pheno should NOT be simply stopped. If a dog is to be taken off it then it should be a gradall reduction. To reduce seizures then you need to increase either the pheno or potassium bromide, but yhou need to check the therapeutic levels of the drugs, too.

      I have heard far more bad reports about Pexion than I have heard good and I would not dream of giving it to my dog.

      If you want/need help and support then I would strongly recommend you join:
      http://www.canine-epilepsy.com/ where you can read material going back to 1999 and talk to hudnreds of other people around the world.

      JeannieC

    • Sorry to hear you and your dog are having a rough time with this awful condition. Perhaps my comments may help you and others. My border collie is 3 and has been having seizures for just over a year roughly one every 10 days even when he first started Pexion. He weighs 18kgs and was started at 200mg twice a day. This was having no effect so my vet increased him to 400mg twice a day. Food is extremely important and a lot of people use the raw food diet but I have found food from The Natural Dog Food Company which has no additives. He only has one dentastix per day, no other treats. I also read the Omega 3 and 6 is beneficial and he has 3 of these a day. I found these from Treasure your Health which sell Omega 3,6 & 9. He is given his tablet in the morning dead on 8 am on an empty stomach and his breakfast at 8.30 am. He has his dinner at 6 pm and is given his second tablet at 8 pm. It is a tie making sure the tablet is given at exact times, but it works for him and me!!! The longest he has gone is 12 weeks which I was really pleased with and at the moment he is on 10 weeks since his last one. I think it is the Omega helping. I hope this helps you but you do need to talk to your vet urgently.
      Janet

  15. I am a UK national living in Costa Rica, it is comforting to be able to share our experience with others, we have a three and a half year old male beagle who started experiencing seizures in May of last year, since then they have increased to cluster seizures every two or three weeks. I fear we are losing our battle with his seizures and that we are constantly one step behind, he was started on dilantin and then switched to primidone and then phenobarbitol because primidone is difficult to get here, I thought we had made a breakthrough administering him with hemp oil drops three weeks ago but then he suffered his regular bout of around nine cluster seizures two nights ago, we administer dizepan rectally, this is a brutal disease and we sense we are running out of time and options,

  16. My 7 year old Labrador is currently on 1000mg Keppra 3 times per day, 400mg Pexion 12 hourly and 3.6ml of Potassium bromide daily. Her seizures definitely improved in the 1st year on Pexion and then as many are saying they have increased drastically where she has had 6 grand mal seizures this month. She was taken off the PB as had liver issues and vet isn’t willing to use it again. I am feeding Eukanuba Dermatosis, adding vegetables and giving Krill oil, Vit D3, Vit B complex and grape seed extract daily and still no joy. She is ravenous for 3 days after a seizure and eats anything -paper, skirting boards, her bedding and will snap at your hands if she thinks there is food there plus giving her tablets is a nightmare as she grabs and has punctured my skin frequently. I am running out of options with medication and am feeling so disheartened as I don’t know how to help her anymore.

    • Anyone needing help and support from other people around the world who are dealing with canine epielpsy can join a great group with hundreds of members worldwide who are in the same situation. Here is the link:

      http://www.canine-epilepsy.com/ From there you can join the group.

      • To all who are struggling to get the right treatment for their dog, please look at what food you are giving them. I give my border collie dry food from The Natural Dog Food Company plus Omega 3,6 & 9 from Treasure your Health. He weighs 18kgs and he has 400mg of Pexion twice a day and nothing else apart from a dentastix, no other treats and his last seizure was the 10th December last year.

        • Each dog with idiopathic epilepsy is unique and triggers are different. Further more if you go look on websites regarding epilepsy, American ones especially are recommending a natural raw diet. Chicken bones are a natural source of taurine which helps brain function in epileptic dogs. My dog Izzy was among the first to pass away in 2013 after using Pexion and to be honest her natural diet had her looking fantastic, I have found that epileptic dogs fit into 2 categories the first can be controlled by medication and with trial and error there will be meds or diet that works, the other group of dogs will gradually get worse but will pass away young. Human poisons like lawn fertilzer can be triggers that start the disease. Love your fur babies and help them as best you can, sometimes there is nothing you can do.

          • So true Amanda, I could not agree more. The dog either responds or there is nothing you can do to stop progression to clusters, status etc. Distressing disease and pure bad luck….

    • Hi Felicity, I know how hard it is dealing with this awful disease. My 7 year old Golden Retriever Leo has been fitting for the last 3 1/2 years. He is currently on 120mg Phenobarbitone in the morning and 150g Pheno in the evening in addition to 1000mg Potassium Bromide. His dose of Kbr has been reduced twice in the last year as the levels in his blood were too high. He usually cluster fits every 4 weeks, after which he is absolutely ravenous, luckily not the extend of your lab. He underwent a cruciate operation 5 weeks ago and has not had a fit for nearly 8 weeks (which is unheard of). I suspect he had a fit today though as my dogwalker found him very unresponsive and the contents of my kitchen bin was all over the floor (which is always a sign he had a fit). The only thing that has changed is that he came to the end of his course of painkillers on Saturday. I feed him a raw diet, Nutriment and Hunters from Nature’s Menu plus a knuckle or marrow bone once a week. When I first came across Pexion I queried with my vet whether we should change Leo’s meds as his fits were not being controlled with the Pheno and Kbr but the neurologist she consulted was very much against it, stating that if it were their dog they would not use Pexion. I know some have had success with Pexion but it only seems to be only those who have not used anything else previously.

      • I had to euthanase Vicky after several severe seizures two days in a row. Was the hardest decision I have ever had to make as felt I was giving up on her but I know logically I had to do it-my heart just doesn’t agree. It is one of the cruellest illnesses but I had no more options with regards to meds and she was just so tired after continual seizures. Pexion definitely helped decrease the number of seizures in the beginning but the just lost its efficacy. At the end I had doubled her Keppra dose and doubled her Pexion dose and it still didn’t help. I miss my little girl…………………

        • Amanda Kirkman

          Dear Felicity
          I really feel for you, sounds like your lovely dog had the same aggressive epilepsy like my dog had and similar meds with the same outcome. It is the hardest desicion I have ever made and after nearly 2 years still miss my dog and question my choices along the course if her illness. At the end of the day we have both done our very best for our loved one, they wait at the rainbow bridge. Know that although it was a short life it was filled with love too. Some dogs never have that. Sending love and hugs.
          Amanda Kirkman

  17. My Alsatian Sin was diagnosed epileptic a couple of years ago. He was originally prescribed a low dose of epiphen but that’s been increased a lot. Few months ago he deteriorated (cluster seizures and one terrifying bout of status.) .He’s now on pexion as well and though he still seizes from time to time I’d say it’s helped him

  18. My Weimaraner had two seizures in 12hrs and the vet put her on 400mg of Pexion. (32kg dog)
    She has been very good we are unsure if seizure stopped because of pexion or on their own however a little scare to stop tablets now!
    Any advice welcome as to how I can buy Pexion cheaply. currently quite expensive via our vet!!
    melanie

    • So sorry about your Weim. Your alternative to obtaining your Pexion from your vet is to ask him/her for a prescription. Vets normally charge for this so you need to make sure that you are not going to be paying just as much in the long run – some vets seem to charge an awful lot for a prescription. When I get prescriptions for my dog’s epilepsy (she is on three different AEDs) they are for three months’ worth of medication. I get them from an online pharmacy. You can shop around to see where you get the best price.

    • It’s so good to finally read some positive posts about Pexion. My dog has been on it for 21 months and is doing brilliantly on it. He is 25kg and has 800mg twice a day. He went six months with no seizures last year and hasn’t had one since 11 January.

      I also feed a raw diet which I am sure helps.

    • Dear Wendy, I would not stop with the medication just in case your dog starts having fits again.
      It is wroth checking if your pet insurance covers it, they should.

  19. Hello, just to say that i have a 6 year old lab called Leo. We got Leo 2 1/2 years ago and were unaware of his medical history, on his first long walk with us he suffered a bad seizure and i thought we’d lost him, having no experience with epilepsy in dogs before i was extremely worried, we brought him to the vet and he was diagnosed that day and prescribed pexion 400mg twice daily. He has never looked back and apart from a very occasional mild fit he is in great form. Leo is such a happy beautiful natured dog and it broke our hearts that day to see how that first seizure affected him. I have only praise for Pexion, we havent noticed any side effects and it really does control the epilepsy. If your dog is diagnosed and Pexion is recommended please use it.

  20. hi
    my young dog has a fit once a month and is on pexion 400 one and half tablets twice a day i can cope with this bu he barks for half an hour once he comes round any ideas how i can deal with this as whatever time of day or night i take him in car and drive around roads till he stops

    • Amanda Kirkman

      Dear Jen
      Try putting a few drops of Bachs rescue remedy on his neck during and after seizure. I don’t know why it works so well for being 5 flower essence, but it calms so quickly and is natural.
      Amanda

    • My girl is the same, except because she has clusters that go on for up to 10 hrs she barks non stop from the first fit to the last. The only thing that stops her barking is allowing her to pace around a reasonable size area, usually the garage, living room, or yard. As long as she can pace she doesn’t bark, as soon as she feels confined and unable to pace she barks non stop.

  21. Gillian Hollingsworth

    My 7 year old dog currently on epiphen and libromide but liver enzymes mildly elevated. Advised to slowly swap to pexion but day 1 he is completely ataxic and crying. Day 2 no change. Awful. Not sure whether to carry on old drugs and risk liver damage or to try and change him to pexion. No quality of life at the moment.

    • Jean Collinson

      Gillian,m I see you posted that four days ago but I have only just seen this.

      It is not uncommon for ataxia to be seen immediately but it should wear off. That should happen with the crying, too. If it doesn’t start to lessen in the next day or so then I would call the vet.

      But if you are happy with the epiphen and libromide (my little Dachsie is on both those plus Gabapentin) then there are things you can do to support the liver. For a start, you should give milk thistle. Two of my dogs (one liver dog, one epi) have liver problems but get Hepatosyl Plus to support their livers. Also a liver friendly diet, so no red meat, lots of chicken, eggs, white ocean fish, cottage cheese, ricotta as well as vegetables and pasta, rice or potatoes. Shani also has Epitaur, especially formulated for epileptic dogs – easily available online.

    • Amanda Kirkman

      Dear Gilliian
      Ask your vet if you can keep your on epiphen and libromide just add milkthistle to protect the liver. If you check back on this forum you will note that most of the dogs that have been put down (mine included in september 2013) had been on epiphen previously and pexion didn’t work. Pexion seems to work best on dogs that have not been on any medication. Your vet can keep an eye on liver enzymes with 6 monthly blood tests.
      Good luck.
      Amanda Kirkman x

      • I guess I’m one of the lucky ones. My dog was on Bromide for six months before he started on Pexion. He was very wobbly to start with and tripped over things, but this only lasted about a week to ten days . He has been on Pexion now for 21 months and is doing so well on it. I’ve had to increase the dose three times and he is now on just over the maximum amount so I can’t increase it again, but for the time being all is good.

        Good luck and I hope this ataxia stage passes and your dog does well on it.

    • Don’t worry, I know that it easy to say, but your dog will get used to the drug over 1-2 weeks. the drowsiness, clumsiness etc will pass. My dog Georgie had been on Pexion for over three years, one of the first at our practice to have it. Although it stopped his fits at first, it did need increasing when he started again.
      It is effective at stopping the fits, but you have to be really strict about the empty stomach for 3 hours before and nothing until at least one hour after, in order for the drug to be fully absorbed into the system (vet quote).
      He is now a 13 year old cocker and I don’t think he would still be here without this drug.

  22. My 5.5 year old Chihuahua was put on pexion back in January after the occasional fit progressed to one per week, the vet put her on the mid dose for her size, she has practically every side effect going, increased hunger, hyper-activity, stomach upset, hyper sensitivity to sound. The vet dropped it to half the original dose (50mg twice a day to 25mg), the side effects decreased but did not entirely subside contrary to the information we were given
    This last month we have been fighting severe stomach issues to the point where she is on medication to reduce the levels of stomach acid to try and reduce the inflammation to help it heal. Though we cant definitely pexion was the cause of this another vet within the practice has agreed she should come off the pexion, so far she has not had anymore fits, possibly due to a change in diet (removing certain items from her regular diet), we will not know until the current meds are removed if her system has recovered or not.

  23. my 4yr old border collie Sam is now on Pexion. He started having seizure’s when he was a year and a half, but they were every 3mths or so, but 2wks ago he had 10 seizures in 3 days, which was terrifying…So far he hasn.t had a fit in 2wks. As Wendy said, my dog Sam was very wobbly and uncoordinated when he first started the meds, so the dose was lowered to half a tablet every 12hrs, and he seems fine. Its to early to say if he is going to be OK, but fingers crossed. I just wanted to say its a relief to know I am not the only owner who is alone in this and that there is other caring owners out there in the same boat. My heart goes out to you all, good luck

    • I have a 3 year old border collie and he started fitting when he was 2. He had a scan and was diagnosed as having idiopathic epilepsy. He was started on Pexion but still continued to have a seizure every 10 days/2 weeks. He weighs 18 kgs and his dose was increased to 400 mg twice a day. I give this tablet at exactly 8 am and 8 pm. I also changed his food to The Natural Dog Food Company and I also read that Omega 3 & 6 is beneficial which I get from Treasure your Health, they do an Omega 3,6 & 9. Since he has been on this his last seizure was 10th December, 2014. I am so pleased with how he is doing. He doesn’t have any treats only a dentastix at lunchtime.
      The only side effects of the Pexion are about 9-9.30 he is asleep and sleeps for a good hour or he goes the other way and is charging around like a mad dog and takes quite a bit to bring him back to normal. The vet thinks this is a petty mal which I would rather have than the full blown.

  24. I have set up a Facebook group about Pexion, following my dog being made worse by it and then having many people coming onto canine epilepsy groups, whose dogs had been made much worse and even some dying as a direct result of Pexion. It seems that some dogs respond really well to Pexion while many others are made much worse and have even paid the ultimate sacrifice. There is a petition to get Boehringer to do more research on Pexion on Change.org

  25. Hi,

    I Need advise . my dog an Alaskan Malamute has been on Pexion now for 6 months. and he continues to have seizures. they have reduced in number of weeks but have increased by seizures.

    I need to know can I ween him off Pexion. and what would the side effects be.

    Thank you.
    Anne Ryan.

    • First question and most important, what are you feeding your dog?

      • I am feeding my dog Barking heads Chicken Dry product. He has been on this since he was 6 months old he is now 4years.

        • Can I ask you to read through my post I did on the 24th May.

          • Thank you Janet . Yes I have read your post. I have reduced his meds. to 1 a day 400mg. and will continue to reduce further to half a day. I don’t know if this will work, I would rather have him off meds if he is going to have multiple seizures on them.

          • Thee are other seizure medications you can try. My dog has been epileptic since birth, she is now 8 years old and on three different AEDs (anti epilepsy drugs) but has many weeks between seizures now. Between seizures she is just as happy and healthy as my other five dogs.

            It can take a long time to find the right medication and get control so you shoiuld not decide that all meds are the same. Talk to your vet about trying a different medication.

          • my young 3 year old has a fit about once a month the worse problem is about 10 mins after fit she has a good half hour of non stop loud barking has any one have any ideas?

    • There is no need to wean off Pexion, you can just stop it. They say that on the drug info.

      • Please read through this forum, DO NOT JUST STOP PEXION, REDUCE IT SLOWLY. Make sure you have epiphen or other medication in place for 3 weeks or more before you stop the pexion. It may say on the box no withdrawal symptons and you can stop at any time, but my dog was one of the first to be put down in 2013 because I didn’t have the safety net in time to stop the fits. My beloved Izzy was having upto 40 seizures on one day 7 days apart. Speak with your vet and get another medication in place and reduce the pexion.
        Good luck, God bless.
        Amanda Kirkman

        • Amanda, sorry to hear of your experience with Pexion. However Pexion itself does not require to be weaned off, it can just be stopped. Ensuring you dog has another AED already in the system to prevent seizures is a separate concern. However if as is usually the case, Pexion is being stopped because it is making the seizures much worse, then stopping it asap is obviously a priority. There are ways of ensuring there is cover in place if needed ie having a cluster buster available to use ie rectal and oral Valium or Keppra.

          • I am just warning people and letting them know to have another medicine in place, my dog was in the care if my vet at the end and with all their combined knowledge couldn’t save my dog. You can’t just stop the Pexion if there isn’t anything in place to protect your dog. Also dogs on other medication prior to using oexion aeem to have reduced benefits.

          • I have stopped using Pexion now for the past 5 weeks and my dog has had no side affect and to date has not had another seizure i am not using any other form of medication and he seems fine. I will not continue the Pexion as he was having up to 3 seizure 5 to 7 weeks apart.

            Please note you can stop Pexion as per instructions on box without weening them off same.

  26. A. J. BEAR is 11 years old. I give him PEXION 100MG once daily and he is fine. No seizures in the 4 week period he has been taking PEXION 100MG. I am very pleased.

    • My dog Tikki Alaskin Malamut is on Pexion 100mg for the last six months and has continued to have seizures. after first going on pexion it was seven weeks before he had another seizure, and he had two . I am now weening him off pexion for the last month and now I am giving him half pexion a day . Don’t know if I am doing right or wrong but my vet agrees with me.

    • Really good to read that another dog is doing well on Pexion. My dog is on 800mg twice a day and is now 6 month seizure free.

  27. I set up a Pexion Facebook group a while ago, because so many people were reporting bad adverse reactions to Pexion. Here is the link. https://www.facebook.com/groups/770653412973027/905357236169310/?notif_t=group_comment_reply

  28. Hi,
    Hope someone could give me some advise. My frechie is 9 and a half…he started on Pexion 9th June, so about 9 weeks ago. We have upped his dosage now to 200mg (AM) and 250mg(PM) The max is 600mg.
    He hasnt stopped his seizures…the longest is 3 days and that didnt happen often as well. After about 6 weeks of Pexion, he would get seizures twice a day….every 2 days….he has one on Tuesday night as well as last night.
    I am very confused and terribly worried. His seizures last about 3-4 mins…and have NEVER gotten lesser….it happens 80% of the time in the evening…round about 10pm.
    My vet is telling us to that we should slowly up his dosage till it slows down….it just dosent seem to. I know it…i go thru every single one with him….clean him up after, soothe him and try to get him to bed….
    It is so painful and hard…if anyone has any comments or advise….please let me know. I have my own thoughts but rather not voice them…they are more fears than anything else. Thank you.

    • What food are you giving him?

      • Hill’s™ Prescription Diet™ i/d Canine Low Fat

        He has a very sensitive tummy…so our vet recommended this…and he has been having the same since he was 3-4. SO no, we’ve never changed his diet.

        • Dear Pamela,
          If you make up some doggie icepops for the warm weather after walking use favourite treat broken up in water. As epilepsy is in the head, eating cold things cools the brain. Walk in morning or evening when its cooler short walk if needed during the day. I used Bachs Rescue Remedy on the back of neck before, during fits to calm dog as well as an iced damp towel on head during seizures. If you can get cannibis oil ortaurine as an additive to the dietit can help. Taurine is naturally occuring in chicken bones, I feed chicken wings daily (raw). Read through this forum from the beginninh and you will find a lot of useful information and websites with helpful people who can give advice.
          Good luck, I hope you find something that works for your furbaby.
          Amanda

          • Dear Amanda,
            Thank you so much for the tips! I did think about things like this….before the fits, i used to drap a wet towel on his back when he came back to help cool him down. I asked my vet once about this ice pack on head to cool him down, he didnt think it would help ! We walk him for afew minutes nowadays…the weather is slowly getting better…and last night we moved into the cellar where its cooler…and he slept right thru!! Have also heard about the cannibis oil…i live in germany and the laws here are strict where these “alternative” medication are concerned…if not approved. I am thinking of natural remedies all the time…he dosent have much teeth in the front, so am worried about the bones…but i do boil chicken breast and he loves that…added to his normal feed. THANK YOU Amanda once again…i will look thru them. We are prepared…but we arent going down without a fight. So long as he is not suffering…we will do all that we can to help him.

          • Omega 3 & 6 very beneficial I buy them from Treasure your Health. They are actually Omega 3,6 & 9

          • Dear Janet,
            I bought from Amsterdam recently hempseeds that contain Omega3, 6 & 9…its raw food…i might try to add some to his food as well.. Thanks for the tip!

          • I started giving it to my border collie back in April and he went 6 days short of 7 months which is the longest he has ever gone and I only think he had the one because we had a very nasty thunderstorm which can be a trigger

          • WOW! Thank you Janet…this gives me new hope!!

  29. Pamela, has your dog had tests to rule out anything other than idiopathic epilepsy? Are the seizures soon after a meal? Is he healthy other than having the epilepsy?

    If he does have idiopathic epilepsy and the seizures are getting worse on Pexion then you should ask your vet to change the medicaiton or change your vet. Or ask to see a neurologist.

    Could there be any new external factors causing the seizures – any change in cleaning poroducts, anything new added such as air freshening products? Have you changed his food? Anything new at all in the last few weeks?

    • Sorry, should have written that down too…Thanks for your reply Jeannie. Yes, we’ve done ALL tests since the 5th June….he was also tested for tick illnesses. Only thing we didnt do is an MRI. No change of food since he was 3…same cleaning products etc…everything as it was….His seizures are 90% at night…to be precise 10pm, 10.08pm, 10.16pm etc. Lasts for about 3-4 mins. Before his seizures, he’s had multiple incidents…i.e. we know he has a sensitive tummy(hence we’ve never changed his food), we know he dosent like the heat, he had a heatstroke once when he was 1. So if you question is whether my dog was healthy before this….he was ok….not super fit (he also has spinal issues), we rescued him from someone who couldnt sell him as he had a tail defect. My vet has already suggested that if the medication dosent work, he would like to try LUMINOL. And if that dosent work, he thinks its most probably a brain tumour. So your suggestion about seeing a neurologist…just might happen. So idiopathic epilepsy is what he really has…Do you think ti could also be the wetaher ? Its been really hot here in germany….

      • Hello Pamela.

        Luminol is phenobarbitone and that would always be my first choice of epilepsy medication. Many people would baulk at that but I have had many years experience of it and know the problems – through my own experiences with my dogs – but I still think it is the most efficient medication. With support and regular monitoring of the liver pheno is good. After that I would try the potassium bromide. My current epi dog is on pheno, gabapentin and potassium bromide. I don’t like the fact that she has all these but I know that they control her seizures and she is a happy little dog.

        Shani had seizures during a hot day last year so I do think the heat can contribute to a seizure. Luckily we don’t get many ot days here in the north of Scotland!

        My dog takes Epitaur, a supplement for epileptic dogs which contains L-Taurine 500mg; L-Tyrosine 50mg; Zinc 30mg; Magnesium 10mg; Vitamin B12 0.1%; On Manitol; 5mg Vitamin B6/Vitamin/Vitamin B2 5mg of each.

        • hi
          my younster has just been put on epilease was previously on pexion he was having fits about every 4/5 weeks but they are now coming every 2 weeks
          He has only been on epilease for 12 days so to early to tell
          he has had a fit whilst on them
          Does anyone know the best time of day/night to give these tablets he is on 2 once a day

          • Mary, epilease can take three months to get to steady state in the dog and so, as you say, it is too early to judge. But epilease is kbr (potassium bromide) and it can be given in two doses. My dog gets hers at around lunchtime and then again at 10pm. You could try giving in two separate doses if you think that would suit your dog better. And always give with food.

          • will try tomorrow as you say giving tablets one at lunchtime and one 10pm i always give with chicken slice to conceal tablet
            thanks for advice

          • Dear Mary

            I used to give my dog her tablets at 7am and 7pm with her meals, the epiphen and bromide given every 12 hours.

          • the worse part of the fits are 10/15 mins after as he starts to bark very very loudly for half an hour so if he fits any time through the night i have to take him out in the car till he stops as dont think neighbours would be very happy i have to do the same if it happens in the day but rather lonely when it happens through the night

          • Hi all,
            I would like to update all that has helped with their comments and tips. Apologies for not replying earlier though…on Sunday 16/08/15, Spocky had 7 seizures and we gave him 2 x 5mg diazepam but it continued. We rushed him to hospital and he stayed over to be monitored. We scheduled a CT Scan the next day.
            They found a 1.4cm tumour in his temporal lobe with swelling that had a circumference of 2.4cm. So it wasnt a good prognosis. He was given cortison yesterday to help with the swelling. The tumour is in a place that they cant even do a biopsy to find out what tumour it is…so the next 3 days would decide if cortison has helped. If not, we have already spoken with our vet and spocky’s quality of life wouldnt be good as the tumour will always be there and with every seizure, he is in pain. So i cant imagine what he went thru on Sunday with 7. Our hearts are broken but we are dealing with it and will do the right thing when it happens. We were told about behavioral changes, agreesion etc. We hope and pray it dosent come to that stage…we do not want him fighting for life because of his seizures, nor want him put down because he has become agressive. So once he starts showing signs of not stopping (his seizures), we will take the next step. I thank everyone who has replied with so many comments and tips. We plan to spend every waking moment simply enjoying him…till he crosses that doggie rainbow. Best regards from Spocky, Pamela and Andy Schoebel

          • thinking of you, must be heartbreaking
            xx

          • So sorry to hear your news.

          • Pamela, I am so sad for you. I understand your pain and pray for peace for all of you.

            Hugs to Spocky.

            JeannieC

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