Why has my veterinarian prescribed this medicine?
Aluminum hydroxide is used to reduce hyperphosphatemia (elevated blood levels of phosphate) in patients with kidney failure. Aluminum salts work by reducing the amount of phosphorus absorbed from the intestine by physically binding to dietary phosphorus.
Normally, the kidneys filter out any excess phosphorus from the body, but when the kidneys are failing, phosphorus will accumulate in the blood. Elevated phosphorus levels in the blood are associated with lethargy and poor appetite. In some cases, phosphorus levels can be controlled through the use of a special diet formulated for kidney disease. When dietary restriction alone is not sufficient to control the elevated blood phosphate levels, aluminum hydroxide is used to reduce the amount of phosphorus absorbed from the intestines. Controlling hyperphosphatemia has been shown to increase the lifespan of animals with chronic kidney failure.
How do I give this medication?
Aluminum hydroxide is available as a tasteless powder which can be mixed with the pet's wet or dry food. Your veterinarian may be able to have this medication compounded into capsules that contain the correct dose of medication for your pet, or made into a liquid medicine that can be specifically flavored to suit your pet's taste.
- If using the powdered form, measure the dose carefully before mixing it into your pet's food.
- If using the liquid form of aluminum hydroxide, shake the container well before measuring the dose and measure the dose carefully.
- Try to give this medication at about the same time each day.
- DO NOT give your pet more medicine than directed.
- DO NOT give the medicine more often than directed.
- Try not to miss giving any doses.
What if I miss giving a dose?
Give the dose as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose, and continue with the regular schedule. Do not give the pet two doses at once.
How do I store this medicine?
- Keep this medicine out of reach of children.
- Store this medicine in a cool dry place at room temperature. Store away from heat and direct sunlight.
- Keep liquid medication from freezing.
- Do not store this medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink or in damp places. The medicine may break down if exposed to heat or moisture.
What side effects should I be aware of?
- Constipation is the most likely side effect of aluminum hydroxide in small animals.
- With prolonged use, aluminum toxicity is theoretically possible, although it is unlikely to occur in small animal patients.
- If you notice anything unusual, contact your veterinarian.
Are there any possible drug interactions?
- Make sure to tell your veterinarian if you are giving your pet any other medication or supplements.
- Quite often, your veterinarian may prescribe two different medications, and sometimes a drug interaction may occur. In this case, your veterinarian may vary the dose and/or monitor your pet more closely.
- Aluminum salts may decrease the absorption of the following drugs: allopurinol, chloroquine, corticosteroids, digoxin, ethambutol, fluoroquinolones, H-2 antagonists (ranitidine, cimetidine), iron salts, isoniazid, penicillamine, phenothiazines, tetracyclines, and thyroid hormones. If your pet is receiving any of these medications, you should administer the aluminum hydroxide at least 2 hours before or after the other medication to reduce the interaction.
- Contact your veterinarian if your pet experiences any unusual reactions when different medications are given together.
How long will my pet be on this medication?
Your veterinarian will begin treatment of your pet with a dose of aluminum hydroxide that is determined by the degree of elevation of the blood phosphate levels. Ten to fourteen days after the medication is begun, a blood sample will be needed to determine what the optimum dose of this medication should be for your pet. Once your pet is stable, your veterinarian will monitor the blood phosphate levels at 4-6 week intervals to ensure that the dose remains correct and that your pet still requires the medication.
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