Generic Drug Name: Potassium Bromide
Other Common Names: Bromide
Potassium bromide is an anticonvulsant medication used to control seizures in dogs. It works by competing with chloride ions in the brain to inhibit the electrical activity in the central nervous system that triggers seizures. The drug may also be used to control seizures in cats, but only as a last resort due to the risk of potentially fatal side effects.
Potassium bromide is often used with other medications, such as phenobarbital, to control seizures in animals. Using a combination of medications generally increases seizure control while reducing side effects.
Potassium bromide is known to cause nausea, increased thirst, and increased urination. Drowsiness is also possible early in treatment. If this symptom occurs, the next dose(s) should be skipped until the side effect clears. Other side effects include increased appetite, depression, muscle incoordination, and unequal pupil size.
This medication may cause life-threatening inflammatory lung disease in cats. Sometimes, dogs develop a cough while undergoing treatment with potassium bromide. This symptom resolves when treatment is discontinued. Dogs with a history of pancreatitis should use potassium bromide cautiously due to the risk of an exacerbation of symptoms. The risk is higher in dogs undergoing treatment with both phenobarbital and bromide. Animals with kidney disease need a reduced dose of this medication, as it is removed through the kidneys.
It is not wise to abruptly discontinue use of potassium bromide. Doing so can precipitate dangerous seizures. Potassium bromide should be administered with food. The drug can cause falsely elevated chloride levels in laboratory tests.
Potassium bromide is known to interact with a number of other medications and supplements, including furosemide and other diuretics, central nervous system depressants, and halothane anesthesia. Dietary changes may also affect the effectiveness or concentration of bromide.
Potassium bromide should not be used in animals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the drug. Overdose of potassium bromide may cause weakness, drowsiness, muscle soreness and tremors, constipation, skin rashes, and loss of appetite. This toxicity syndrome, called bromism, requires immediate veterinary attention.
Potassium bromide should be stored in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight and heat sources. It should be kept at room temperature, in its original packaging, and out of the reach of children and pets. Potassium bromide will break down if exposed to heat or moisture; it must not be stored in the bathroom or above the kitchen sink.
Potassium bromide is available as chewable tablets in strengths of 250 mg and 500 mg. The drug is also available as a vanilla-flavored solution for oral administration, and through various compounding pharmacies in other formulations and strengths.
A veterinarian should dose individual animals depending on the severity of seizures and other factors, and monitoring is necessary to achieve stable blood levels of the drug within the effective range. Typically, a loading dose of potassium bromide is administered for 5 days, followed by a maintenance dose that may continue for life.
Doses may vary in different species, when the drug is given by a different route or concurrently with other medications, and with regards to a patient's age, breed, and health status. A veterinarian's dosing instructions and/or those printed on the medication label should be followed closely.
It is important not to miss a dose of potassium bromide. Doing so can cause seizures to return. If a dose of this medication is missed, it should be taken as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the next dose, the missed dose should be a skipped and the normal schedule should be resumed. Two doses of this medication should not be taken at once.