Mirtazapine is a prescription appetite stimulant commonly used in veterinary medicine for cats to encourage interest in food and eating and to promote weight gain.
Brands include Remeron and Mirataz. In this article, you'll learn what mirtazapine is, how it works, the different dosage forms available, possible side effects to look out for, and some frequently asked questions.
Summary of mirtazapine for cats
Type of medication:
5-HT3 (serotonin) receptor antagonist and tetracyclic antidepressant
Oral tablets, topical transdermal ointment
Is a prescription required?:
Mirataz Topical Transdermal Ointment is FDA approved for use in cats.
stage of life:
Safety studies of Mirataz in cats included cats aged 7 to 10 months.
Mirataz transdermal ointment: 100 mg/tube in a 5 g tube (20 mg/gram); oral tablets: 7.5 mg, 15 mg, 30 mg and 45 mg.
About mirtazapine for cats
Mirtazapine is classified as a serotonin receptor antagonist and tetracyclic antidepressant. In cats, however, it is not used as a behavioral drug, but rather for its benefits in stimulating appetite and food intake.
Norepinephrine (NE) is a neurotransmitter that acts on specific receptors in the body to increase appetite, among many other functions. Mirtazapine is thought to block receptors that would stop NE release. This leads to an increase in NE and a subsequent increase in appetite.
Mirtazapine also blocks serotonin receptors. By blocking certain serotonin receptors, mirtazapine also has anti-nausea and anti-emetic (anti-vamotic) effects.
Currently, mirtazapine is commercially available as a generic tablet, as is the topical transdermal brand Mirataz, which is applied to the skin on the inside of the ear.
What does mirtazapine do in cats?
Mirtazapine has been used by veterinarians for many years to stimulate cat appetite. This may apply to cats with poor appetites, such as B. Kittens with chronic diseases.Nephropathy(CKD) or cats with other conditions leading to weight loss where we would like to encourage a higher calorie intake.
Side Effects of Mirtazapine in Cats
Mirtazapinecan causehypersalivation (drooling) andSedation (excessive sleepiness) in cats.
Mirtazapine is a generally well-tolerated medication for cats, but there are some side effects that need to be considered and monitored.
Since mirtazapine also acts as a histamine blocker, sedation can be seen, especially at higher doses.
The second most common side effect is increased vocalization, which is seen in about 50% of cats. Restlessness and gastrointestinal effects such as vomiting can be seen in approximately 25% to 33% of cats.
Abnormal gait, restlessness/hyperactivity and hypersalivation (sabbern) can be seen in just over 10% of cats. The remaining side effects, affecting about 10% or fewer of cats, may include an increasebreathingjheart rhythm, loss of appetite, disorientation,improper deletion, tremors/shaking and hiding behaviors, among others.
Studies of mirtazapine use in cats have found fewer side effects when lower doses are used.
Specifically, with the topical brand Mirataz, approximately 10% of cats may experience application site reactions on the inner surface of the pinna. This may include, but is not limited to, redness, scabbing, scabbing, and debris.
of reports to theASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, the most commonly observed signs of overdose were excessive vocalization, restlessness andVomit. Fortunately, in humans at least, doses in excess of 10 to 30 times the prescribed dose have shown minimal toxicity, requiring only several hours of observation.
Mirtazapine can interact with a variety of different drugs, particularly sedatives, pain relievers, and drugs used to modify behavior. Always discuss any medications your kitten may be taking with your veterinarian if mirtazapine use is recommended or prescribed.
Mirtazapine should be used with caution in pets with kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, or diabetes mellitus. Mirtazpine is commonly used for some of these conditions, contributing to its effects on appetite, but dosages may need to be reduced and monitored more carefully.
If you are ever concerned that your kitty has developed any side effects while using mirtazapine, be sure to contact your veterinarian, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435) orPoisoned Pet Hotline(1-855-764-7661) for more tips.
Mirtazapine dosage for cats
Your veterinarian will recommend the ideal dosage and dosing frequency based on your cat's individual needs.
The dose for the tablet form of mirtazapine can range from about 2 milligrams to 3.75 milligrams depending on the goal and tolerance for side effects. Generic tablets are only available in two sizes of 7.5 milligrams and 15 milligrams.
The dosing frequency of oral tablets may be as little as once every 48 to 72 hours, but a cat's appetite should be carefully monitored to determine the best dosing interval.
Because the right dose and frequency can depend largely on your cat's needs and current health status, you should always first discuss mirtazapine dosage for your kitten with your veterinarian, including current and past health status.
The topical product Mirataz, an FDA-approved mirtazapine transdermal ointment to control weight loss in cats, has a labeled dose of a 1.5-inch band of the ointment applied from the ear to the pinna (fin) once every 24 hours will be for 14 days. This corresponds to a dose of about 2 milligrams.
At Mirataz it is extremely important that the person applying the product wears gloves to prevent the product from absorbing into their own skin. Proper application of the product to the inner surface of the pinna is best done with the thumb or forefinger, but as a transdermal product, the drug can be absorbed through the skin of the person applying it.
Although mirtazapine is also a drug sometimes used in humans, accidental ingestion of the product should be avoided.
Mirtazapine can be an excellent medication to help kittens who are experiencing weight loss or a lack of appetite. The Mirataz brand of topical can also provide a great way to dose medication for a kitten who is no longer eating well or is having trouble administering oral medication.
Mirtazapine can have some side effects due to its action as an antidepressant. However, mirtazapine is generally well tolerated by most cats, particularly those receiving lower doses, and is a very useful therapeutic drug.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does mirtazapine do in cats?
Mirtazapine is a type of appetite stimulant drug. It is most commonly used in cats suffering from short- or long-term decreased appetite and weight loss.
How long does mirtazapine work in cats?
This usually depends on the dosage and the form. The dose from one oral tablet can last about 48 hours on average, although it can last shorter and closer to 24 hours in some cats, while it can last up to 72 hours in others.
Does mirtazapine make cats sleepy?
Because one of the effects of mirtazapine is to act as a histamine blocker, it can have sedating effects. This is a similar effect to other drugs that we tend to think of as antihistamines for allergies, such as B. Benadryl. This effect of mirtazapine is often observed to be greater when higher doses are used, e.g. B. Doses near 3.75 milligrams or higher.
How much mirtazapine can you give a cat?
The listed dosage for Mirataz topical product is a 1.5 inch strip of ointment applied to the skin of the inner pinna (fin) of the ear. This dose is equivalent to 2 milligrams of drug.
Doses of mirtazapine tablets can range from about 2 milligrams to 3.75 milligrams, commonly in cats, every 24 to 72 hours. The appropriate dosage for your cat will depend largely on the condition causing loss of appetite and/or weight loss and other conditions your cat may have.
Higher doses and more frequency can be associated with more side effects, so it's always extremely important to discuss mirtazapine dosage and frequency with your veterinarian before dosing your cat.