Apomorphine is a D2-dopamine-receptor agonist and a derivative of the narcotic drug morphine. However, unlike morphine, it is not used in veterinary medicine to alleviate pain.
The primary function of Apomorphine is to induce vomiting. This medication is chiefly used on dogs. Administering to cats has been shown to cause an excitatory reaction, though in some cases, the medication is used on felines.
Pharmacology of Apomorphine
Apomorphine targets and stimulates specific dopamine receptors in the brain which are responsible for inducing vomiting. It is usually given by way of injection or as a topical to the eye, as these methods quickly induce vomiting.
In veterinary medicine, injection is the most effective and fast-acting method of administering Apomorphine. While administration to the conjunctival sac of the eye is very effective, it is not as effective as direct intravenous or muscular injection, which usually results in vomiting in as little as five minutes after the dose is given.
Precautions and Possible Side Effects of Apomorphine
Apomorphine is generally safe when prescribed and administered by a veterinarian, but there are some precautions that should be followed.
Apomorphine should not be used to induce vomiting on a dog with hypersensitivity to the drug or a known allergy to it.
If the animal is physically weak, comatose, experiencing a seizure or having difficulty breathing, the medication should not be administered. Apomorphine should also be avoided if the animal has already vomited or ingested caustic agents, petroleum distillates or acid, as regurgitation could cause further damage.
If the animal does not vomit after an initial dose, additional doses should not be given, as it will more than likely not induce vomiting. Additional doses could result in toxicity.
Potential side effects can include excitement, restlessness, nervous system depression, or respiratory depression. Side effects such as these are most common when the animal receives a larger than necessary dose.
How Is Apomorphine Supplied?
Apomorphine is only available through a compounding pharmacy with a veterinary prescription and it is typically administered in a hospital setting.
Author: Giano Panzarella