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Old June 7th, 2007, 01:07 PM
Natchoice Natchoice is offline
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Location: Canada
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Atopica - CYCLOSPORINE A - New Drug - Answered by Dr. Lee


My 4 yr old dog, a Bichon, has severe year
round allergies. Has been on steroids after
natural remedies failed.

New Vet has now put him on ATOPICA,
also known as CYCLOSPORINE “A”.

Has anyone had any experience with this
new $6 per capsule drug?
This is the same drug given to human for
organ transplants.

Please, if you have ANY info at all, pass
it on to me ASAP. Desperate !


Last edited by Pike; June 7th, 2007 at 02:51 PM. Reason: Email Address Removed
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Old June 7th, 2007, 02:42 PM
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mummummum mummummum is offline
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There is quite a bit of information on the internet you might want to look into. Atopica is seen as a safer alternative to corticosteriods as having less or no long term impact on organs.



To what is your dog allergic ?
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Old June 7th, 2007, 03:18 PM
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BMDLuver BMDLuver is offline
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We have used Atopica combined with Vanectyl P for severe allergic reactions. There was significant improvement with it. However, it is very costly and the likelyhood of the dog ever being removed from it is slim. Have you had testing done to know exactly what the allergies are to? Sometimes this allows a pattern for when the Atopica is required and when something less expensive could be used ie. Benedryl or Vanectly P on it's own. Presently the poplar tree allergy and grass allergy is very high in some areas of Canada therefore making it an intolerable time for some dogs.
"For every animal that dies in a shelter, there is someone somewhere responsible for its death".
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Old June 7th, 2007, 03:32 PM
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Dr Lee Dr Lee is offline
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Atopica information.

If your dog has allergies, Atopica might be the right medication! It has a large number of advantages over steroids. The medication targets the immune system, specifically the T-Helper cells. The two main advantages of Atopica over steroids is 1) safety and 2) better response.

The safety issue
Steroids will not only affect the skin but may lead to changes in the adrenal glands, kidneys, muscles, pancreas and GI tract. High doses are often accompanied by increased risk of infection and signs of iatrogenic (drug induced) Cushings disease which leads to thin skin, weight gain, increased thirst and hunger.
Sometimes steroids are needed, but it is a good sound that your vet is wanting to try Atopica first.

The Better response.
In my experience, dogs on steroids will stop itching but the severe cases still have many associated skin changes. The dogs who respond to Atopica wil often return to 'normal looking'.

The downside to Atopica....
1) Price. It is an expensive drug. The price from novartis came down this February but it is still costly. While you may want to shop around for the best price, I would caution you against other cyclosporine brands. The Atopica is microemulsified which allows for better intestinal absorption. Also Novartis has product guarrantees if any side effects might be thought to arise.
2) Downside two - the carrying agent is castor oil. Some dogs will vomit on it. If so, contact your veterinarian on what to do.

Final thoughts...
Have you had your pet skin tested? A food trial? (note: food trials cannot be done with just changing over the counter brands....) If not, you may want to ask your vet if these are right for you.

Some people want to start weaning their pet down on the Atopica. The most common problem that I have seen with Atopica not working is weaning too early. Talk to your vet prior to reducing the dose unless she/he gave you instructions already on tapering the dose.

I agree with the above post. The websites can be very helpful. Good luck!
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Old June 8th, 2007, 02:04 PM
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CyberKitten CyberKitten is offline
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I don't want to add to the vet's reply - I have prescribed this med enough to humans since yes, it is an anti rejection medication.Anyone who has a transplant has to take a plethora of meds but this is one of the more common ones. It's a very potent immunosuppressant and has a variety of side effects in humans as well. I do not know about the sidfe effects in dogs or cats.
"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats" Albert Schweitzer
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Old June 8th, 2007, 11:18 PM
Natchoice Natchoice is offline
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Location: Canada
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Need input on this allergy drug

Nicky is a 4 year old male Bichon epilepsy service dog of great value as a pet, service dog for my son's epilepsy and as a beautiful little soul.

As a herbalist and nutritionist myself, I have tried with the help of a holistic vet
herbs, vitamins, raw meat diet, home cooked meals and even homeopathic remedies to no avail. Benadryl was of minimal use even at high doses.
From what I have read, testing for allergies is expensive and basically useless.
How is one to protect against, molds, mites, allergies to humans, other dogs or cats or just plain dust?

My friend got his dog tested twice, 6 months apart with different results!
Then the injections turned to be of almost no use after a year or two of injections. Even the Vet Derm. told me that not every dog is a good candidate. And then, to do the testing a dog that is tearing its self apart needs to be off medication for at least 2 weeks for proper results.
In two weeks without steroids he would be a real mess.

Nicky was put on Vanectly P (steroids) for 3 months straight. Finally he got better, put on weight, peed constantly, drank like crazy and had a rock hard belly. I wanted him of the drug. My holistic vet moved to New York so I had to find a new vet.

The new vet, on my suggestion, agreed that we should try Atopica.
I read the monogram and as with all pharmas I did not like what I read.
Vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, even lameness and life threatening allergic shock are mentioned.
To make thing worse on the 7th day of treatment the dog's back legs were extremely weak, could barely stand up or walk. Naturally it was on a Sunday
with only the emergency hospitals available in downtown Toronto miles away away being open. This scare the hell out of us. Thank God that slowly he improved through out the day. Was it related to the drug?
I called Novartis the drug company and the vet there didn't know what to say. According to her, the lameness mentioned on the monogram was
not fully "written up" and frankly it would be confidential !!!!!
Needless to say it was pretty scary.

Nicky is very lethargic , refuses to eat as normal, doesn't pee much
and still scratches away. What does one do?
This has been one of my toughest cases to solve and it affects the family
I manage to do quite well with my human clients and their health concerns.!!!!!!!

Expensive as it is, I wish I could hear from others who have had positive result with this Atopica drug so at least we can keep our hopes up.

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Old February 2nd, 2009, 05:23 AM
KendaWest KendaWest is offline
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Atopica save my ****zu's life. He was very healthy for a couple of years, and suddenly he started breaking out in large sores all over his body. His skin appeared it was rotting away and lost all his hair. His weight dropped to 4 kg when he was normally about 8kg. He was constantly bloody and pussy and had to change his sheets daily because they were so soiled.

My heart broke for my little puppy, and we hopped from vet to vet for about 18 months, and all we got was antibiotics from everyone, and he only seemed to get worse and worse. We finally found a vet that took him off the antibiotics and tried all sorts of things. The final medication we tried was Atopica. The vet even told me that this was his last chance, and if this did not work we would have to put him down...

So we started him on Atopica.....Wk 1 nothing...Wk 2 nothing...Wk 3 nothing (starting to panic)...Wk4 the open sores are starting to dry up!!!...Wk 5 he is no longer so hot and radiant of heat...Wk 6 the open sores have turned into large dried scabs...wk 7 his skin was not hot pink anymore...wk 8 the scabs are starting to come away with healed skin underneath...

6 months on, after nearly 2 years of sickness, Hershey my ****zu is a beakon of health. Happy, energetic, his hair has completly grown back thick and healthy, he is back up to 8kg and you would never know he was the same dog.

I prayed for so long that somthing would fix my dog, and it came to me... Please try atopica!
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 05:24 AM
KendaWest KendaWest is offline
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lol it put stars in... My dog is a Shi tzu
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 08:33 AM
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Marty11 Marty11 is offline
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Sick on Atopica

My dog was prescribed atopica. She cut down the itching by 50% and her coat returned to normal. However she is very sick on this med. I have to wonder how she is feeling all day, she vomits a lot. I did try antinausea medicine and also tried to give it with her food. I don't know what to do, let her scratch or vomit.
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Old August 4th, 2009, 03:56 PM
robogd robogd is offline
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What made you decide to go with Atopica? What did you try before that if anything and was there a reason you finally decided to go with that drug? My dog is having allergy issues and the vet just mentioned Atopica but the price is restrictive. The consensus seems to be that it works but just wondering what made you decide it was the right solution for you.
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Old April 30th, 2010, 08:08 AM
mivas mivas is offline
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Whenever I read about cyclosporine use, I come across the vague "longterm" in describing length of use and side effects as a result. What is considered "longterm" use? A few weeks, months, years? Thanks.
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Old May 7th, 2011, 02:27 PM
calisgrandma calisgrandma is offline
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Wow! Our dog has been on Atopic for about 2 weeks and had an episode where she collapsed and had a hard itme getting back up. We rushed her to the vet but she recovered fairly quickly. He didn't think it was the Atopica but we are pretty sure it is. They ran a bunch of blood tests and we should get results in the next week. She seems fine now but we haven't given her the pill since the day before yeasterday. We're going to give it to her tonight a couple of hours after she eats. Other side effects are stomach upset and diarreah.

We will see what happens tonight but hse sure starts to itch if we don't do something! She had been on steriods for over a year and those made her start to break out in some very scary looking scabby things! That mess is finally starting to clear up.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 11:18 AM
longtallsally longtallsally is offline
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Be very cautious with atopica

If you look at the information for cyclosporine in human medications, it says that it can cause skin cancer, lymphoma, high blood pressure and kidney failure. I got a call from someone that bought a dog from us years ago, and it was put on cyclosporine/atopica. It has developed kidney failure. Along with the various other replies in this topic, it sounds like this med has a lot of down sides, and some can be fatal. This is a very sad thing for us, but the owners thought they were doing something good, and gave the dog this drug at the suggestion of their vet. I read another post somewhere that said a dermatologist vet specialist won't use this drug. Maybe there's a good reason for that.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 09:43 PM
2Shibas 2Shibas is offline
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Just started Atopica

I have a 4 year old Shiba Inu who presented with allergies when she was about 2. She licks, scratches, and bites at her legs and paws mostly, but when we first started this mess she licked and scratched the hair off her hind legs and rump. I have been to a total of 5 vets with her. Started with Benadryl and every other antihistamine coupled with antibiotics for secondary infections...none worked. The steroids worked, but like everyone else I didn't want to keep her on it for very long. I live in south Texas so summers, which last most of the year, are her worst times. During the winter she seems to do well without any medication. Last year I decided to do the allergy testing and start the allergy shots. Turns out she is allergic to everything!! Fortunately, she has improved a lot on them. She itches less severely during the summer months (May through September/October). The shots have extended the time in which she would have had to be on a steroid and seems to have stopped the itching and hair loss on her butt.

This year (in fact today) I started her on Atopica. I am under the impression that she won't need to be on this long term, and it is a better medication than steroids to get her through her seasonal allergies. My derm. recommended 100mg for her, even though she is only 30lbs. I gave it to her on an empty stomach and fed her an hour later. An hour after she ate she had diarrhea - as well as being really restless, panting heavily, increased itching on her paws and looking generally uncomfortable. It has now been 2 hours since I gave her the pill and she is resting comfortably under the bed.

I am very concerned about giving her this medication (more so after reading all these posts), but more concerned about the long term effects of keeping her on a steroid. When she was on them she gained a lot of weight and her appetite was insatiable.

Hopefully the diarrhea clears up without having to put her on Fortaflora (a waste of money I think). And hopefully this treatment works for her. Like many others I have been through a slew of treatments...antihistamines, shampoos, sprays, oils, steroids, specialty diets, etc. The shots, although expensive, improved her condition, but she still needs spot treatments during the summer months. As a side note, she has been eating Royal Canin Skin Support for a few years now - Shibas are picky eaters and she seems to not get tired of this one. It has the added omegas for her skin too in lieu of giving her fish oil supplements. Atopica is expensive, I am paying $180 for a month supply. Hopefully she will be able to taper off a bit and that will decrease or I can switch to generic. For now I just hope it works without severe side effects. So, that's my story. I will update as she progresses through her treatment.

Thanks for reading.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 02:49 PM
Harriet Harriet is offline
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Location: georgia
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I have a Min. Schnauzer that is 3 years old. She has been diagnosed with
large cell lymphoma. She has always suffered with allgeries, to the point of taking Atopica everyday. She also took predisone everyother day. She would still itch.... In the last month her lymphnodes have swollen....after a
biopsy she now has cancer....Please be carefull with these drugs.....I can't
say that Atopia or predisone had anyting to do with Hannah having cancer
but I wonder. Now she has maybe 6 months to live.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 01:34 PM
silverfox silverfox is offline
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Angry Stay away from atopica!

my beautiful westie had a skin condition and he was started on Atopica; well within a few months it was back and he was put on it again; after a couple of weeks he did not want to eat and within another week he was DEAD! I wasn't informed about the side effects when the vet prescribed it. Please read all you can and this should be a last resort!
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Old February 21st, 2012, 02:35 PM
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Marty11 Marty11 is offline
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So sorry your dog died possibly from this? I have never tried Atopica again. My dog is on Vanectyl P small dose daily. She has been stable and the side effects are minimal for now.
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