Acepromazine (Promace)


By Dr. Karen Burgess

Brand name and formulations

  • Promace and generic
  • Tablets, Injectable

What is acepromazine used for?
Acepromazine is used as a tranquilizer for dogs and cats. The effects can be variable causing excessive sedation in some and no sedation in others. Another concern is that acepromazine has minimal effect on anxiety. This would be similar to being afraid of snakes and then being put in a room with snakes just sleepy. Acepromazine can also assist with motion sickness by decreasing nausea.

How is acepromazine given and what if a dose is missed?
Acepromazine is typically prescribed to be used as needed. The effects of acepromazine can last anywhere from six to twelve hours. A very conservative initial dose is typically prescribed with instructions to repeat dosing.

What side effects are associated with acepromazine?
Acepromazine may cause excessive sedation, abnormal gait (walking as if drunk, unstable on feet), and decreased blood pressure. Elevation of the third eyelid is a common and normal occurrence with the use of acepromazine.

What patients should not take acepromazine?
Pets with liver disease, geriatric patients, and debilitated animals should use acepromazine cautiously. Pets with MDR1 mutations (more common in herding breeds) may have prolonged effect from acepromazine. Giant breeds, greyhounds, sight hounds, and Boxers also may be more sensitive. Aggressive patients may become uninhibited while taking acepromazine leading to spontaneous aggression despite the appearance of being sedate. Pets with a history of seizures should not use acepromazine.

What drugs should not be given with acepromazine?
Care should be taken when using acepromazine with other anesthetics, sedatives, or potentially depressing agents. Antacids may affect absorption of acepromazine. Do not use acepromazine with organophosphate insecticides.