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. Sep-Oct 2013;23(5):565-70.
doi: 10.1111/vec.12091. Epub 2013 Sep 9.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) Toxicosis in Cats: 33 Cases (2004-2010)


Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) Toxicosis in Cats: 33 Cases (2004-2010)

Cassandra M Pugh et al. J Vet Emerg Crit Care (San Antonio). .


Objective: To evaluate a population of cats with selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) toxicosis and characterize the population affected, list products ingested, the clinical signs observed, treatments performed, length of hospitalization, patient outcome, and overall prognosis.

Design: Retrospective study from 2004 to 2010.

Setting: Referral veterinary center.

Animals: Thirty-three witnessed cat SSRI ingestions.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and main results: The medical records of cats with a witnessed SSRI ingestion identified by review of an animal poison control center electronic database were evaluated. The most common SSRIs ingested were venlafaxine (Effexor; 12/33; 36%), fluoxetine (Prozac; 12/33; 36%), citalopram (Celexa; 6/33; 18%), and escitalopram (Lexapro; 3/33; 9%). Overall, 24% of cats (8/33) became symptomatic, while 76% (25/33) remained asymptomatic. Of the symptomatic cats, sedation was the most common clinical sign (6/8; 75%), followed by gastrointestinal signs (4/8; 50%), central nervous system stimulation (1/8; 13%), cardiovascular signs (1/8; 13%), and hyperthermia (1/8; 13%). Veterinary care was sought in 20 cats (20/33; 61%). Sixteen cats (16/20; 80%) were hospitalized, while 4 cats (4/20; 20%) were treated as outpatients. Treatment for hospitalized patients included administration of IV fluid therapy (14/16; 88%), activated charcoal (12/16; 75%), anti-arrhythmic agents (7/16; 44%), methocarbamol (6/16; 38%), cyproheptadine (6/16; 38%), anti-emetics (5/16; 31%), and sedation (5/16; 31%). Diagnostics included blood work (7/16; 44%), blood pressure measurement (3/16; 19%), and electrocardiogram monitoring (2/16; 13%). Mean hospitalization time for all cases of SSRI ingestion was 14.6 ± 7.8 hours (n = 16). All symptomatic cats in this study (8/8; 100%) had resolution of clinical signs and survived to discharge.

Conclusions: The prognosis for SSRI ingestion in this population of cats was excellent. Decontamination and supportive care for at least 12-24 hours can be considered in cats with SSRI ingestion, particularly venlafaxine to monitor resolution of clinical signs.

Keywords: feline; human medication intoxication; prescription drugs; toxicology.

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