FDA Approves Drug for Dogs Distressed By Fireworks and Other Loud Noises

Relief could be near for  dogs distressed by loud noises like fireworks and traffic.

The Food and Drug Administration announced on Tuesday that the Center for Veterinary Medicine has approved Pexion, a drug designed to treat noise aversion in dogs.

Dogs with noise aversion aren’t simply startled by a sound; rather, noise-averse dogs can react by “hiding; vocalizing (whining, barking, howling); panting, shaking or trembling; or may vomit, urinate or defecate. Some dogs may damage furniture, doors, dog beds, or other items in their surroundings,” the FDA said in their release regarding Pexion’s approval. (They did not provide an expected date for Pexion’s release.)

Pexion was approved following an evaluation of noise-averse dogs on New Year’s Eve. Dogs involved in the test of the drug’s effectiveness were given either a placebo or Pexion twice daily from two days prior to New Year’s Eve through the holiday. This date range was selected because firework shows were scheduled for New Year’s Eve.

“The owners evaluated their dogs’ responses to the fireworks at four pre-set intervals and scored the level of 16 different behaviors. The overall score for the dogs receiving Pexion were lower (better) than those receiving the placebo,” the federal agency said of the test.

Sixty-six percent of the owners who gave their dogs Pexion rated their dog’s response to the fireworks as excellent or good when compared to previous reactions to fireworks. Only 25 percent of owners who provided their dog with a placebo gave the same high rating.

Dog owners who think their dog could benefit from Pexion must visit a veterinarian once the drug is available to receive a prescription. Pexion is designed be given to dogs twice daily starting two days before an expected noise event. Dogs also receive two pills on the day of the event as well.

According to the FDA, “the most common adverse reactions seen in the study were ataxia (difficulty standing and walking), increased appetite, lethargy, and vomiting.”

Some of the dog owners who tested the drug on their pet also reported an increase in aggression.

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