I wrote recently about Babe’s anxiety and the various ways we try to manage it.
I didn’t mention in that post that Babe’s treatments began simply enough. We used herbal remedies and over-the-counter options, like Composure chewable treats. When those had no effect, we started her on fluoxetine (commonly known as Prozac). Since it can take some time before becoming effective, we had her on fluoxetine for a long time — almost a year in total — before giving it up as ineffective as the herbal remedies.
Finally, Babe’s vet recommended that we try using alprazolam (commonly known as Xanax) on an as-needed basis for her fears.
That’s what we’ve been doing for about 5 months. We use the meds sparingly, averaging 1 pill every 2 weeks and only giving it to her when she is inconsolably distraught and in danger of injuring herself. (Prolonged use of benzos can decrease the effectiveness rapidly and is only used when anti-depressants are not working.)
The problem with the alprazolam is that it has more of a sedative effect than an anti-anxiety effect. So Babe might still be scared out of her mind, but can only groggily alert me to her fears. The positive result is that she’s too sedated to possibly hurt herself (once she almost fell out of a third floor window). The negative result is that she’s still terrified.
Fortunately, she’s not alone and she always calms down eventually, so she can curl up next to me and nap at the end of the day.