If your pet is showing signs of increased thirst and urination, excessive hunger, weight gain, decreased activity, chronic skin infections, hair loss, and occasional behavior changes, then you should take her to the veterinarian for a thorough evaluation as soon as possible. This is because the above list includes several of the more common signs of Cushing’s Disease when present in cats and dogs.
If your veterinarian diagnoses your pet with Cushing’s Disease, trilostane is one of the more common medicines used by veterinarians to treat the condition.
What Is Trilostane?
Trilostane is a synthetic steroidal enzyme inhibitor that decreases the high levels of cortisol hormone being produced by an overactive adrenal gland (hyperadrenocorticism).
Why Trilostane Is Prescribed in Veterinary Medicine
Because hyperadrenocorticism is the primary sign of Cushing’s Disease, trilostane is most often used to treat the condition. The drug is effective in treating pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism, adrenal-dependent hyperadrenocorticism, and latrogenic hyperadrenocorticism.
It’s important to note that trilostane does not cure the disease, but rather it helps manage it by keeping cortisol levels in check. If your pet is prescribed trilostane for Cushing’s Disease, then she will most likely be on the medication for the remainder of her life as there is no known cure currently available.
Other Uses for Trilostane in Veterinary Medicine
In addition to being used to treat hyperadrenocorticism in cats and dogs, trilostane is also used by veterinarians to treat dogs diagnosed with alopecia X, a type of baldness that is also known as black skin disease because it causes the skin to turn black in color. Other names for the condition include: Adult Onset Growth Hormone Deficiency, Growth Hormone-Responsive Alopecia, Castration-Responsive Alopecia, and Adrenal Hyperplasia-Like Syndrome.
Dosage and Administration of Trilostane
Trilostane is given orally and should be administered to the pet exactly as prescribed by your veterinarian. The dosage and frequency are determined by many factors, including the size and weight of the pet being treated, the severity of the condition, and more. Because trilostane can cause nausea in some animals, it is recommended that pet owners administer the drug with food.
If you miss a dose, then be sure to give the next dose as soon as you remember to or, if it is close to the next scheduled dose, wait and resume with the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not administer a double dose to catch up on a missed dose. After administering trilostane, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly.
Special Precautions for Using Trilostane
Trilostane is only to be administered to the pet that it has been prescribed for. The medication should be kept well out of reach of children and pets.
Trilostane should be used with caution in pets that are pregnant or nursing because it may affect other hormones produced in the adrenal gland. This drug should be used with caution in dogs suffering from dehydration, weakness, or abnormal serum electrolyte levels because it can block the synthesis of other hormones (mineralocorticoids).
Since trilostane is metabolized by the liver, it should also be avoided in animals with known liver or kidney problems. Trilostane should also be used with caution in pets diagnosed with anemia.
Possible Side Effects of Trilostane
The most common side effects associated with trilostane include loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness. Trilostane affects hormone levels, so some side effects may also be related to low hormone levels, such as metabolic disturbances.
Less common but more severe side effects can include severe depression, hemorrhagic diarrhea, collapse, and pale hypoadrenocortical crisis or adrenal necrosis/rupture.
In rare cases, trilostane can cause the adrenal gland to stop functioning. If this occurs, then this will result in a permanent change in which the pet will need to be on corticosteroids and mineralocorticoids for the remainder of her life.
Known Drug Interactions With Trilostane
If your pet is taking other medications or supplements, you should let the veterinarian know about all of them. This includes notifying your veterinarian of the drug dosages and administration schedules, to help avoid any potential risk of interaction with trilostane. Currently, the only drugs known to interact with trilostane are potassium-sparing diuretics. When taken together, there is the potential for the pet to develop higher-than-normal serum potassium levels.