Atopica for dogs with atopic dermatitis

(redirects here from cyclosporine)

Learn about cyclosporine (Atopica) for dogs, including the safe dosage, side effects, uses of the drug and more.

Atopica (with the active ingredient cyclosporine) is a medicine specifically made to target immune system cells responsible for producing allergic reactions, and is effective in curing atopic dermatitis, a problem characterized by inflamed skin.

Atopica dosage for dogs

Atopica is sold in various different strengths for different sizes of dog. You shouldn’t give this medicine to dogs weighing less than 4 lbs or who are less than 6 months old. Never give Atopica to your dog without veterinary guidance and approval. See the table below for dosage information.

4 – 9 lbs: 10 mg
9.1 – 16 lbs: 25 mg
16.1 – 33 lbs: 50 mg
33.1 – 64 lbs: 100 mg

Pick the strength relevant to the weight of your dog. You should administer the dosage once a day (24 hour intervals) for around 4 to 8 weeks at which point the condition should be improving. Once the condition has improved you will be able to lower the frequency of administration to once every other day until finally only having to administer the medicine once every 4 days. You will need guidance from your vet to taper the dosage correctly.

For dogs weighing over 64 lbs you will need to use an appropriate combination. For example, dogs weighing 64.1 to 79 lbs should be given one 100 mg capsule and a 50 mg capsule for a total dose of 150 mg, whereas dogs over 79 lbs should be given two 100 mg capsules at a time.

Is Atopica safe for dogs?

When less severe treatments are ineffective (medicated shampoos and lotions) Atopica can be a safe option for relieving your dog’s symptoms. The medication is FDA approved and trials have been carried out where dogs were administered 9x the recommended dose without suffering signs of organ toxicity. Atopica should be safe for use as long as you follow your vet’s instructions carefully and obey safety guidelines.

Safety precautions

  • Never use Atopica (cyclosporine) without approval and guidance from your vet
  • Notify the vet of any existing medical conditions (particularly kidney disease)
  • Notify the vet of any other medication your dog is taking (particularly ketoconazole)
  • Consider avoiding use in dogs with a history of neoplasia
  • Consider milder treatment options before using Atopica

Atopica is a drug which should not be used without guidance and approval from a trained veterinarian. You should notify the vet of any pre-existing medical conditions your dog suffers with and any other medication he or she is taking. During the initial phases of treatment your vet is likely to schedule routine appointments for reevaluation where he or she can assess the improvement in your dog’s condition and adjust the dosage accordingly.

Uses of Atopica for dogs

The active ingredient of Atopica specifically targets the immune system cells responsible for causing allergic reactions, and is effective in the treatment of:

  • Atopic dermatitis

Atopica should not usually be used as your first line of defence without trying milder treatment options unless advised otherwise by a vet.

Side effects of Atopica when given to dogs

Contact your vet immediately if your dog suffers any serious adverse reaction, or displays signs of fever, pain when urinating, fatigue, sneezing/running nose and coughing. These symptoms could be early warning signs of a bigger issue developing.

Other possible symptoms of Atopica use includes swimmer’s ear, weight loss, urinary tract infection (UTI), weight loss, gingival hyperplasia and swelling of lymph nodes. Contact the vet if your dog suffers any unforeseen side effects, or if any side effects appear to be particularly bothersome to your pet.

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General information about Atopica