Welcome, Log in
What is Epiphen?
Epiphen is the trade name for a drug called Phenobarbital. This drug is categorised in the UK as a scheduled drug (schedule 3). This means that there are special regulations concerning the supply of this medication. For this reason, we must receive the original, written Epiphen prescription from your vet (no faxes or scans permitted). The prescription must be received within 28 days of it being written and vets are obliged to only supply the minimum quantity of Epiphen required. No repeats are authorised on these prescriptions.
How does Epiphen work?
There are two main ways in which Epiphen is though to work to control Epilepsy in Dogs. The first is due to a reduction in the transmission of nerve impulses through the brain (known as monosynaptic transmission). The second mechanism is thought to be through an increase in the tolerance of the brain to electrical stimulation (known as an increased seizure threshold). Epiphen is rapidly absorbed by the body following oral dosing and reaches the maximal level between 4-8 hours after medicating. Each individual animal will have different requirements in terms of the epiphen dosage and often small, incremental adjustments in dose will need to be made. It takes some time for the level of phenobarbital to reach a steady state in the blood stream and it is for this reason that your vet will usually need to take several blood samples from your dog once the treatment is started. Your vet will also want to check your pet’s liver function and liver enzymes throughout treatment to ensure the medicine is being well tolerated.
What is Epiphen used for?
Epiphen is licensed in dogs to treat a condition known as epilepsy. Epilepsy is a condition that happens due to abnormal electrical activity within the brain. This disorganised electrical activity causes seizures. There are different kinds of seizures but the most common type are known as tonic-clonic seizures where there is loss of consciousness. These are also sometimes referred to as ‘fits’. Your vet will have performed an examination and possibly further testing upon your pet to confirm the diagnosis and to rule out other causes of collapse such as heart disease. Occasionally forms of advanced imaging will be required to look directly at the brain, including MRI scans. Your Vet will decide the most appropriate form of test and treatment for your dog and much will depend on the individual case. Generally, most dogs will respond well to Epiphen with minimal side effects.
For many patients, Epiphen is a life-saving medicine that can help prevent the health problems and distress that follow repeated seizures. It is essential that you follow the advice given by your vet when using this drug: devastating seizures can follow if the medicine is suddenly stopped or changes in dose made without consulting a vet.
How is Epiphen administered?
Epiphen is administered orally, with or without food. Epiphen is also sometimes given alongside other medications such as Potassium Bromide or Libromide. Occasionally human medicines such as Gabapentin or Keppra can be used, particularly in some moderate to severe cases or in situations where epiphen is not being tolerated well.
Epiphen is available in strengths of 30mg and 60mg. The tablets are white in colour.
A Veterinary Prescription is Required for Epiphen