Piperazine's Effects on Humans, Cats & Dogs

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Medications have two general types of effects: therapeutic and adverse. Piperazine is no different. Find out what this drug is used for and what its intended and unintended effects are in human, dogs and cats.

What Is Piperazine?

Imagine for a second going to the toilet. You really need to go. And you need to go #2. As you go #2 you see a white worm come out with your poop. Scary right?

Or how about this? You wake up constantly in the middle of the night because you have a painful rash around the anal area. You have an embarrassing urge to scratch there all of the time throughout the day as well. Also scary.

Both are problems caused by parasitic worms. The former refers to Ascarids or roundworms and the latter described Enterobius or pinworms.

Either one can be treated with an anthelmintic, a class of medication that treats parasitic worm infestations. One particular one is called piperazine. This medication is used in humans, dog and cats to treat roundworms and in humans to treat pinworms.

Let's go over this drug's therapeutic and adverse effects.

Therapeutic Effects

The drug has two major types of effects. The kind of effect we want it to have in order to help us and our pets is known as its therapeutic effect. It works by paralyzing the worm's muscles. This allows for the person's, dog's, or cat's body to expel the worms from their body. That being said, the worm is still alive when it is expelled. Gross but at least it's out of there!

Adverse Effects

The other kind of effect the drug may have is the unintended side effects or adverse effects. Therapeutic doses of this medication rarely cause adverse effects but you should remain vigilant nonetheless. Piperazine's potential adverse effects in humans include but aren't limited to:

  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps or pain
  • Drowsiness, dizziness or headache
  • Muscle weakness, tremors (shakes) or inappropriate movement of the face, arms or legs
  • Fever
  • Joint paint
  • Rash and itchiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Poor balance and incoordination
  • A crawling or tingling sensation of the skin
  • An exacerbation of seizures in some epileptic patients

If you experience any of these, see a doctor immediately!

As with people, adverse effects are unusual in dogs and cats when piperazine is used in an appropriate manner. However, there are rare instances when the dog or cat may have an adverse reaction to the drug even at such doses (or in case of overdose). Things to look out for in your pets include but aren't limited to:

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