pexion canine epilepsy

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 your dog has been prescribed Pexion, let us know how your dog is getting on in the comments below. Join the discussion 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). 

Featured Image: 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! Currently developing PetSci HealthTrak, the fast and easy way to monitor your pet's weight and calorie intake. HealthTrak offers a simple way to track your pet's progress, helping them achieve a healthy weight and a long, happy life.

Check Also

rhodesian ridgeback JME

Myoclonic Epilepsy Gene Discovered in Dogs

A gene potentially linked to epilepsy has been discovered in dogs. A study investigated juvenile myoclonic …

Curly coat retriever

Rapid Decline in Male Dog Fertility Observed

Male dog fertility has drastically decreased over the past 26 years, a University of Nottingham study …


  1. I was a young woman who has been living with Epilepsy for 8 years. When I graduated one year later from high school I had bad migraines which became seizures, which followed by uncontrolled seizures up to 7 a day and as years went on my life stop. I lost my first great paying job and was not allowed to continue college because of my seizures in class. As a result my license was revoke. And it got to the point where I stop living I was trapped in the house because various times I was robbed and treated badly. In 2005 I decided to have brain surgery cause the seizures increased, and my life started to changed although the surgery was great it reduced my seizures but did not take them away and I was able to return to school, and I graduated with honors, and I do what I love to do sing, and write. In 2013 i heard about Doctor Lawson from my sister for his miraculous herbal medicine, I was curious to know how it works. I contact him and then I made an order of his product, i used his herbal product for mouths, His medicine has change my health and worked perfectly well and i am cure from seizure completely, seizure free contact this to no more about Dr.Lawson

  2. My dog has been on Pexion for 4 years. He has been having one a month this year which has changed to 2 in the space of an hour. He had a double one and then another the following morning. My vet told me to increase his Pexion by half but it was too much for him. My vet has now suggested giving him Keppra as well. Has anyone used this combination and what were the results.

    • My dog has been on a combination of pexion and levitiracetam for around 4 years it works well however recently the price of the levitiracetam has shot up due to a shortage of generic type levitiracetam keppra is very expensive just something to consider

  3. My 7 year old saluki has been having seizures for a year now. They started off with one seizure every 4-6 weeks at which time she was prescribed phenobarbitol. Another vet later moved her off the phenobarbitol to potassium Bromide. About 2 months ago the seizures increased to once every 2 weeks so the vet prescribed Pexion alongside the potassium Bromide. I’m hoping we’ll see a reduction in the frequency soon but my vet says there have been insufficient studies done on Pexion so far to be sure.

  4. my 10.5 yr old bullmastiff started on pexion on friday and 3days later is still walking about drunk with increased thirst and tiredness she tries to greet people and shows interest in the other dogs we have would like to know if the drunkeness will wear off as it is a bit distressing to see her falling about while trying to walk

  5. My 6 year old aussie has had seizures for over 5 years..we have tried every combination of meds out there and now we are on Pexion..hoping this works. He is still on Potassium bromide, zonisamide and topirimate as well. hoping we can wean him off at least one other drug. Also we have tried Keppra and Phenobarb neither worked.

  6. My 12 year old x breed has been on Pexion since July/August 2017 ,previous usage had not had desired effect but seizures since last year reduced significantly and she has been fit free since November 21st 2017. Her dosage is 400mg twice a day plus Epiphen 60 mg twice daily. I can purchase Pexion cheaply on line and do not need blood tests for this drug.I am glad I gave Pexion a second chance..

  7. My Jack Russell Terrier was having increasing numbers of fits and the severity was increasing. My vet said do nothing. I changed my vet and after some very expensive tests and a consultation with a neuro surgeon she was put on Pexion. She has to have the maximum dose for her weight but by buying the 400 mg tablets and cutting one into three quarters the cost is reduced very significantly.

    Since being on this medication she has suffered only one minor fit. This was around Christmas time. It is worth noting that excitement, stress and anxiety all appear to exacerbate the propensity to fitting. She has now been on the medication for approaching a year. Rather than having a full fit she will occasionally appear a little under the weather. Then she wants simply to rest.

    Until this treatment the best I could offer her was reassurance and this significantly helped bring her out of the fit. Simply holding the dog gently and speaking reassuringly, especially using the dog’s name, appears to help no end. In humans first aiders are taught the only thing to be done is to hold the head to prevent them damaging themselves.

    I am happier with this medication. My dog just travelled three thousand miles in the car without incident. In my experience Pexion has liberated my dog and myself.

  8. My dog hasent had another seizure but he is being sick when he drinks water so we have to limit him to small amounts which is not ideal.

  9. Noah was diagnosed with Ideopathic Epilepsy August 2015. He has not experienced a seizure since that diagnosis and he has been managed for that time with Pheno until his liver enzymes spiked to serious levels. He was prescribed Pexion and over the course of 6 weeks he was weaned off Pheno, while establishing his Pexion regime. Over 6 weeks Pheno was reduced and Pexion continued until he was on Pexion only. Just on a week later Noah suffered his first seizure since being diagnosed. We had him to the local pet ED where he was stabilised. We took him to our regular vet who increased his Pexion regime to what we understand is the maximum dose for him. He lasted another week before he experienced 4 further seizures within 24 hours, each with increasing frequency and severity. He is with the regular vet presently for monitoring and re-assessment of his meds. It would seem that Pexion for Noah might be more effective in conjunction with some other medication. We would consider a return to Pheno but for the adverse effects on his liver. If his seizures cannot be managed we despair of any further decision we may have to make. He is only 8yo.

  10. Hi. I have to pay £88 for my dog’s keppra . It’s disgusting.When he first went on it it cost £7

  11. Lifesaver wirehaired viszla two a month started Pelion two years ago frequency reduced now free for six months . Also changed diet. Give 400 exactly 12 hours apart. No side effects at all now

  12. Suzanne Mannion

    My dog is taking Pelxion and bromide together and are 5 months seizures free.

  13. My dog has been on Pexion now for 3 months and has now fits up to last night when he has 2 one after the other is this normal when taking this drug or does it just control how many they have? Does anything interfere with this medication ie any other tablet. I only ask because my dog has gone through some very strange things since he started having fits and he has been eating his own poo, so I got some tablets from pets at home to try to stop him. The vet originally said that it could be toxins that is causing the fits, and in my opinion him doing this isn’t helping him!!

  14. My little dog has been on Pexion for some years now; it has made a huge difference and the space between his fits has increased drastically along with the severity. I would not put him on PhenolBarbitol but I am glad my vet suggested this. It is not metabolized in the liver so it is much kinder.

  15. Yes, he started treatment with Pexion but he has liver problems and I do not know how bad he would do.

  16. My dog who is a patterdale and is now about 15 has had seizures for as long as we have had him – 10 years. He was having cluster seizures about once a month. Originally he was prescribed epiphen but then became very ill due to the effect on his liver, so the epiphen was stopped. He has been on Pexion – 300mg twice a day – for 3 years and his seizures have reduced in frequency and severity.

  17. Our dog has been on Pexion since mid January. Since then she has had one very mild seizure, and nothing since mid February. She seems to tolerate the drug very well ! The fact that it seems to have virtually no side effects is a big plus.

  18. Clare-Louise Manning

    My cockerspaniel has been using Pexion for nearly a year and she is doing absolutely fine in it. We halved her dose as she just needs half a tablet every three days.

  19. My 8 year old Labrador has suffered seizures since he was 2, no explanation has ever been found as to why but unusually he only ever has them in walks, never when he’s at rest which is the usual time for a dog to have a seizure. They used to be fairly rare but more recently they became so frequent we stopped taking him out. I took him to the vet and preferred the sound of this drug due to it having less side effects and not needing 6 monthly blood tests. In the first month he only had one seizure and that was when I’d been a bit late giving him his tablet but now we’ve got I to a regular twice a day tablet routine he has not had one single seizure since, it’s nothing short of miraculous and has changed the quality of his life for the better. He had some diarrhoea and vomiting for the first 4 days he was on them which the vet said was normal bit that quickly wore off and there are no noticeable side effects at all. I’m really delighted with Pexion.

  20. Missy, a Groenedaal, had her first grand mal at 3.5yrs, while she was sleeping. Then she had grand mal every 3 weeks, but they were not as long or severe as the first. We were giving her rectal diazepam during the seizures and her recovery was improving with each event. We’ve had her on Pexion for 5 weeks now and she had a grand mal week 4 while walking, but it was mere seconds, far less snapping & salivating and her recovery was quicker than ever before, she was straight back on her feet. We did give her the diazepam too to ensure she didn’t cluster – Pexion is apparently not suited for dogs that cluster, can in fact make them worse. Missy is on the lowest dose of Pexion so we have room for adjustment if needed. She did all the side effects and none lasted more than a couple of days – except the hunger, it is incessant and appears to be getting worse. We’re very pleased that the severity of the seizures has been dramatically reduced, are hoping that the time between seizures will be extended, and really hoping the food seeking stops soon.

  21. My boy Bobby. A 14.56kg rescue. 25% Russell tereier. 12.5% German Shepherd. 67.5% Middle Eastern Pariah dog. Rescued from a vet collage in Romania where he may have been hit by a car. Or the kennells here claim he was attacked by 4 dogs. He is beautiful natured with himans if all ages uf not spooked by loud noises. However tolerates fireworks and thunder. He has a parrot mouth. And anal glands issues. And spent 8.5 months in the dog rescie kennells. Lots of issues. But a beautiful little black dog. He stated seizires just after we rescued him. Average from first grand mal waa once a month. Diaried and went 5 months with out. But we realise he was having fical seizure in this period. His diary shows that pre cursers could be fear anxiety to change and seperation. Since end of June seizures escallated lots of focal and once a week. Tried DAP collar. And it definately helped but still had mild seizures. Vet reccommended DAP collar first. And mentioned Pexion having read up on it. As Bob had no others meds prior to this we are giving it ago. Vet reccommended high dose to start. I felt uncomfortable with this as he had not had any previuos medication for his seizures. So instead if 400mg x 2 per day. Vet agreed to try 200mg twice a day. Stated 2 days ago evening. Bob is a bit wobbly after about 30 mins if taking it. And his wobblyness seem to go away completely after 2.5 hours from ingestion. He still jumps a bit if a cushion falls or a leaf blows past him. But he explores it as opposed to avoiding it. It is early days yet but i have noticed hardly any night time chomping/swallowing. And after the sleep and wibblyness is over. He is playful and vocal. He is trying to scavenge extra food tho. I will keep you all updated on his progress Fingers crossed.

  22. My lurcher is on minimum dose of Pexion (1/2 a 400 mg tablet morning and night) he’s 25Kg.
    No side effects at first but now , 2 months later he’s been very lethargic other the last 10 days or so.
    Doesn’t want to walk far, tired, sleeps most of the day and night.
    Not really interested in his toys or lying in the garden which he’s always loved.
    Is it the Pexion causing this? He’s 10 and always been a lurcher live wire!
    It has been very hot and at first I thought it was this but even walking 6am in the cool he’s not bothered.

    Any advice welcome,

  23. My dog has been put onto Pexion today for 2 seizures 4 days apart. He was very active and very hungry this evening. But has become drowsy and is in a deep sleep . Is this normal ?

  24. Catherine Wood

    My dog has been helped significantly with Pexion. Fewer seizures and the ones he does have are much less intense. My only problem with the medication is getting it shipped to the US in a timely manner. Does anyone know a company which is able to deliver Pexion in a timely manner to the US? Preferably a month or less. Thank you.

  25. Maarten van der Stap


    got some issues with supply of pexion in australia at the moment.. are there any sites we might be able to purchase from..our little girl Rosie (Spoodle) has been on this medication and it does help..even though she still have cluster of fits ..once per month.. hate to think what it would be like without medication..thanks


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.