On May 4, 2017 I gave Lyra the first dose of buspirone — a serotonin agonist (I only dimly know what that means; not even the researchers fully understand how it works). Her initial dose is 10 mg twice a day — which she is taking as well as fluoxetine (30 mg daily).
I’m using the following chart to track impact (including side effects):
The idea is to track values over time with numeric values — rather than make snap reflections based on how she’s feeling on any given day. Under reactivity, I am also making a note of what category: P = people, S = sound.
May 21, 2017: the effects so far (2 1/2 weeks in) have been minimal; most of the numbers on my chart are “0”. The one subtle change I’ve noticed is that Lyra seems a bit calmer with people, but more sensitive to sound. E.g., tonight she got a bit subdued at the distant sound of fireworks (not a trigger to date). I’ve been advised by the VB to continue with the dose at least until 4 weeks.
May 26, 2017: In the past few days, Lyra has become noticeably more bothered by sound. She was more distressed than usual crossing the road to go to the vet’s. She growled at two people in one day (highly unusual of late). It may be due to allergies — the vet thinks she is bothered by pollen, but can find no sign of illness or inflammation. Or it may be the drug itself. Ugh. This is not fun.
July 8, 2017: Because of the lack of progress, we increased Lyra’s dose in June – gradually – to 40 mg per day. She continues to take 30 mg of fluoxetine. Two weeks after reaching 40 mg, I had to go away (for one week) so my tracking has not been perfect. Yet I feel able to say that there is no discernible improvement in her sound phobias. If anything, she remains slightly more bothered by sounds than before. Where I see a small improvement (perhaps) is in her reactions to people; she seems less bothered by strangers. However, this is harder to track as she is typically fine with most people; it’s her unpredictability that’s the worry.
If I see no marked change in the next week or two, I plan to wean her off buspirone. It’s a very expensive drug ($105 per month) and the main reason for its use is her reaction to sound.