Generic Drug Name: Apomorphine
Other Common Names: Apokyn
Apomorphine is a potent opiate emetic used to stimulate the CTZ, or chemoreceptor trigger zone. This area of the brain processes blood-borne drugs, toxins, and hormones while also communicating with the emetic center to prompt vomiting. It is typically used to treat medication overdoses and accidental ingestions of poisonous materials in canines.
Apomorphine typically induces vomiting before adverse side effects can occur. Doses at and above 0.1 mg/kg can cause sedation. If administered through the eye, the hydrochloride salt within the opiate's molecular construction has an acidic pH of 3-4 and can be irritating.
If the initial dose does not cause vomiting, it is unlikely further doses will be successful. Although this medication stimulates the CTZ, it has a depressant effect on the emetic center itself.
Apomorphine can also stimulate the central nervous system, so it is used cautiously with felines. Felines are more likely to experience opiate-induced excitement versus sedation. Apomorphine should not be used in animals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to this drug.
This medication should be stored in a tightly sealed container at room temperature, as the solution begins to decompose when exposed to air and light.
Apomorphine can be administered intravenously, subcutaneously, orally by mouth, and in a liquid solution instilled to the eye. Administering the drug through subcutaneous injection usually results in vomiting within 5-10 minutes, making it the quickest method.
A typical canine dosage is 4 mg/kg by mouth, 0.002 mg/kg intravenously, or 0.25 mg/kg subcutaneously. Felines are not typically suggested for treatment through apomorphine due to the chance it will stimulate their central nervous system, and there are no conclusive studies on this medication and its use on large animals.