Mitotane to Treat Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Mitotane is a cytotoxic drug that is used in veterinary medicine to treat animals diagnosed with hyperadrenocorticism, or Cushing’s Disease. This condition predominantly affects canines.

Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s Disease is a condition that stems from the overproduction of hormones like glutocorticoid in the body. It typically affects middle age to older dogs and in some rare cases, cats. The most common symptoms associated with Cushing’s Disease include hair loss, increased water consumption and urination, increased appetite, an enlarged abdomen, increased panting and frequent urinary tract infections. The symptoms of Cushing’s Disease are quite broad in scope, which is why a blood test is usually required before diagnosing this condition.

How Is Mitotane Supplied?

Mitotane is available in by prescription in an oral tablet. It can be obtained under the trade name Lysodren®, or in a generic formulation through a qualified veterinary compounding pharmacy. Dosage and frequency of administration are tailored to the needs of each patient and in most cases, animals prescribed mitotane are reevaluated every one to three months.

Possible Side Effects of Mitotane

Mitotane is safe for use in animals when it is used under the supervision of a veterinarian. However, some side effects may arise in more sensitive patients. The most common side effects associated with mitotane include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and weakness. While decreased water intake is a sign that the treatment is working, if the animal stops drinking altogether, then you should contact the veterinarian immediately.

Mitotane Precautions 

Mitotane should never be prescribed if a patient has a known allergy to the drug. It should also be used with caution in patients with pre-existing liver disease. Routine blood tests are recommended in all instances of use.

Mitotane should also be used with caution in animals diagnosed with diabetes, as it may reduce the animal’s daily insulin requirements, thereby increasing the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Mitotane Drug Interactions

Mitotane may interact with other medications including barbiturates (such as phenobarbital), insulin and spironolactone. Discussing the patient’s complete drug regimen with the veterinarian prior to starting mitotane will help reduce the risk of drug interactions.

Author: Giano Panzarella

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