Atopica for Dog Allergies. Benefits and Drawbacks.

Atopica for Dog Allergy TreatmentsAtopica for Dogs is an oral pill which is becoming a popular alternative to dog allergy steroid treatments.  Many veterinarians and dog owners are turning to Atopica to treat their dog’s allergy symptoms.  As stated on Novartis’ Atopica website, it “can be used for long-term control of the allergic response in a dog’s skin.”

Atopica (cyclosporine) is a canine atopic dermatitis treatment drug manufactured by Novartis, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2003.  It is designed to blocks the release of inflammatory molecules such as cytokines and histamines.  The Atopica website states that “This oral treatment has been proven through extensive clinical trials to be effective and well tolerated in reducing the pruritus and skin lesions associated with atopic dermatitis.”

As with any medication, there are potential side effects.  According to the Atopica product insert, the following side effects were reporting during clinical testing of this drug:  Vomiting and diarrhea were the most common adverse reactions occurring during the study. In most cases, signs spontaneously resolved with continued dosing. In other cases, temporary dose modifications (brief interruption in dosing, divided dosing, or administration with a small amount of food) were employed to resolve signs.

Persistent otitis externa, urinary tract infections, anorexia, gingival hyperplasia, lymphadenopathy and lethargy were the next most frequent adverse events observed.”

It’s recommended that you do your research and talk to your veterinarian about any potential side effects prior to starting your dog on a long-term drug like Atopic.

Atopica Benefits:

  • Designed more for long-term usage than steroids.
  • If your dog has a positive experience, they can often be tapered down from a daily to a weekly treatment.
  • If effective, could minimize your visits to your veterinarian.

Atopica Drawbacks:

  • Can be costly.  Atopica costs anywhere from $50-$200 per month.
  • Common side effects include vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Not all dogs will have a positive experience on the drug.