Pregabalin: New Treatment Option for Acute Anxiety & Fear in Cats

Jim Budde, PharmD, RPh, DICVP, Plumb's Veterinary Drugs

ArticleLast Updated April 20241 min read
Print/View PDF

Complete drug information and pet owner handout can be found at Plumb'

What Is Pregabalin?

Pregabalin is now available for use as an anxiolytic in cats with acute anxiety and fear associated with transportation and visits to the clinic.

Pharmacology of Pregabalin

Pregabalin, like gabapentin, binds to the alpha2-delta subunit of voltage-gated calcium channels, decreasing calcium influx and inhibiting subsequent release of excitatory neurotransmitters (eg, substance P, glutamate, norepinephrine).

Contraindications of Pregabalin 

Pregabalin is contraindicated in cats hypersensitive to it or any of the inactive ingredients. The safety of pregabalin has not been studied in cats with cardiac disease or systemic hypertension; that are pregnant, lactating, or intended for breeding; or that are <7 months of age. 

Adverse Effects of Pregabalin

Adverse effects were uncommon (<5% of cats) in pre-approval studies. Reported adverse effects may include ataxia, lethargy, emesis, anorexia, weight loss, tremor, and proprioceptive abnormality.1 Sedation may occur but typically resolves within 6 hours after administration. Hypothermia and depression are also possible.

Additional Information & Administration Instructions 

Pregabalin is a controlled substance (C-V) in the United States.