What is Atopica?
Atopica is a soft oral capsule for the treatment of certain allergies (atopy, atopic dermatitis) in dogs. These allergies occur when hypersensitive dogs come in contact with or inhale common allergens such as house dust mites, pollens and molds, which then generate an allergic reaction. It may also be prescribed for other conditions. Active ingredient is cyclosporine, which suppresses the immune system.
Who is it for?
It is labeled for use in dogs who weigh at least 4 lbs; the safety of Atopica in dogs less than 6 months of age has not been determined. Some veterinarians may prescribe it for cats.
What are the benefits?
||Relieves itchy skin caused by allergies
||Reduces the gnawing & scratching behavior which aggravates skin conditions
||Long-term treatment without some of the side effects associated with steroids
How does Atopica work?
Atopica suppresses the immune system and is used to treat immune-mediated diseases, especially those involving the skin. Atopica targets the immune cells involved in the allergic reaction.
Is there a generic equivalent available?
Cyclosporine is available as a generic equivalent.
How is it given?
Give this medication without food. If side effects related to the digestive system are observed, contact your veterinarian, who may direct you to give the medication with a small amount of food.
Always follow the dosage instructions provided by your veterinarian. If you have difficulty giving the medication, contact your veterinarian.
Atopica (Cyclosporine) is bitter. Do not open the capsules and attempt to give the contents by sprinkling on the food. If you miss a dose, give it as soon as you remember.
Always follow the dosage instructions provided by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may decrease the dose of Atopica after several weeks of treatment.
This medication should only be given to the pet for whom it was prescribed.
What results can I expect?
It may take several weeks to achieve the maximum effect of Atopica. Signs of atopy should decrease. If allergies are seasonal, it is recommended to start Atopica 1-2 months prior to when the allergies usually start.
What form(s) does it come in?
Please click on "More Information" for possible drug and food interactions with this medication.
Common Drug Name
What should I discuss with my veterinarian while considering Atopica?
Talk to your veterinarian about what tests and exams may be necessary while your pet is taking Atopica. Also discuss what type of outcome is expected. Have your veterinarian explain the other treatment options for allergies in dogs.
Tell your veterinarian if your pet has kidney or liver disease, cancer, or a history of cancer; or may be pregnant, is nursing, or if you intend to breed your pet.
Notify your veterinarian of any other medications or supplements your pet is taking, and also if your pet has had any reactions to previous medications.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, give it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to the regular schedule. Do not give two doses at once.
What is the most important information I should know?
Many drugs interact with Atopica, so be sure to inform your veterinarian of any vitamins, supplements, vaccinations, or medications your pet may be receiving.
Do not use Atopica if your pet has a history of cancer.
Who should not take it?
Not for use in animals hypersensitive (allergic) to it or other ingredients.
Use with caution in animals with kidney or liver disease. Do not use in animals with a history of cancer.
Do not use in breeding or pregnant animals unless the risks outweigh the benefits. If the mother is receiving cyclosporine, place the offspring on milk replacer after they have received the colostrum (first milk immediately after birth).
What side effects may be seen when taking Atopica?
May see loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. More rarely, may see overgrowth of the gums, muscle cramps, and changes in hair growth. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of these signs.
At high doses, immune system suppression may occur, making a pet more susceptible
to infection. Contact your veterinarian if your pet has a fever (over 103°F), painful urination, tiredness, sneezing, coughing, or runny eyes.
If your pet experiences an allergic reaction to the medication, signs may include facial swelling, hives, scratching, sudden onset of diarrhea, vomiting, shock, seizures, pale gums, cold limbs, or coma. If you observe any of these signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.
How is it stored?
Store at room temperature (59-77°F). Keep out of reach of children and pets. Do not open single dose packaging until ready to use.
What should I do if I know of or suspect there has been an overdose?
you know or suspect your pet has had an overdose, contact your veterinarian immediately.
What should I avoid when giving my pet Atopica?
Consult your veterinarian before using cyclosporine-oral with vitamins and supplements, digoxin, etoposide, and corticosteroids, amiodarone, androgens (testosterone), azole antifungals (ketoconazole, itraconazole), erythromycin, calcium channel blockers (diltiazem), corticosteroids, metoclopramide rimethoprim/sulfa, rifampin, phenobarbital, phenytoin, terbinafine, probucol, omeprazole aminoglycosides (e.g., gentamicin) or amphotericin, vaccines, or modified live vaccines, since interactions may occur.
Vaccinations may be less effective when given to animals receiving Atopica. The manufacturer recommends using only killed vaccines in animals taking Atopica.
Where is more information available?
Ask your veterinarian, consult with one of our pharmacists at 1-800-447-3021, or see the Patient Information Sheet on this medication.