Atopica For Dogs: Atopica is a cyclosporine capsules used to treat atopic dermatitis or eczema in dogs. It works as an immunosuppressant, reducing the activity of the immune system that leads to inflammation and itchy skin.
Atopica inhibits the production of certain immune system cells like lymphocytes that trigger the itching and scratching. By slowing down the immune response, it can help relieve symptoms like hair loss, redness, and open sores associated with atopic dermatitis.
The capsules typically come in 25, 50, and 100 mg strengths, depending on your dog’s weight. The most common dosage is 3 to 5 mg per kg, given once a day. It can take 4 to 6 weeks of daily use to see full effectiveness.
The most common side effects are digestive issues like diarrhea, vomiting, or loss of appetite. More serious side effects can include infections, lymph node swelling, or changes in blood cell counts. Close monitoring, especially at the start of treatment, is important. Long term use or high doses may increase the risks.
While Atopica can be very effective at controlling symptoms, it does not cure atopic dermatitis. Lifelong management and monitoring are required. If side effects become severe or your dog’s condition stops improving, talk to your vet about alternative treatments or adjustments to the dosage and administration.
With the proper dosage and close monitoring, Atopica can significantly improve your dog’s skin problems and quality of life. By understanding how it works and potential side effects, you can make sure your dog benefits as much as possible from this medication.
How Atopica Works to Treat Allergies
Atopica works by suppressing your dog’s overactive immune system to control inflammation and allergic reactions. Basically, it tells the immune system to chill out and stop overreacting to allergens in the environment.
- Atopica inhibits the production of cytokines, which are chemicals released by cells that trigger an inflammatory immune system response. By reducing cytokines, Atopica calms down the immune system and lessens allergy symptoms like itching, swelling, and redness.
- It also decreases the responsiveness of T-cells, which are white blood cells in the immune system that normally detect and respond to foreign substances in the body. When T-cells are overactive, they see normal things in the environment as threats and cause an allergic reaction. Atopica helps reprogram these cells to not react to harmless allergens.
- The effects of Atopica tend to build up over the first few weeks of treatment as it works to rebalance your dog’s immune system. You may not see full results for 4 to 6 weeks. Once it builds up in their system, Atopica often only needs to be given once daily to keep allergies under control.
The usual dosage of Atopica for dogs is 3 to 5 mg per kg body weight, given orally once a day. Your vet will determine the specific dosage based on your dog’s weight and severity of symptoms. It’s best given with food to reduce stomach upset.
Never stop giving Atopica abruptly, as this could cause a flare-up of allergy symptoms. Always talk to your vet before making any changes to the dosage or frequency. With the right dosage and long-term use, Atopica can be very effective at relieving your dog’s allergy misery so you can both enjoy life more!
Proper Dosage of Atopica for Dogs
The typical dosage of Atopica for dogs is 0.25 to 0.6 mg per pound of body weight, given once daily. The specific dosage your vet recommends will depend on your dog’s medical condition and body weight. It’s usually best to start with a lower dose and gradually increase it to find the minimum effective amount.
When first starting Atopica, the initial dosage is often on the higher end of the range (0.5 to 0.6 mg/lb) for the first 4 to 6 weeks. This helps achieve a therapeutic level in the bloodstream more quickly. Your vet will then lower the dosage to the minimum needed to control symptoms.
Potential Side Effects of Atopica in Dogs
Atopica can cause some side effects in dogs, ranging from mild to severe. The most common side effects are GI upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. Some dogs experience these side effects initially but they often subside over time. However, if your dog shows any of the following side effects, contact your vet.
- Skin problems: Excessive scratching, redness, rashes or hair loss. Atopica can suppress the immune system and increase the risk of skin infections or other issues.
- Increased infections: Due to immune suppression, dogs on Atopica may be more prone to infections like upper respiratory infections or urinary tract infections. Watch for symptoms like coughing, sneezing, increased urination or blood in the urine.
- Liver or kidney damage: Long term use or high doses of Atopica can potentially cause damage to the liver, kidneys or other organs. Your vet will monitor blood tests to watch for any changes in organ function. Symptoms may include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea or jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or gums).
- Cancer risk: While rare, Atopica could slightly increase the risk of certain types of cancer in dogs like lymphoma or mast cell tumors. Report any unusual lumps, growths or swelling to your vet right away.
- Neurological issues: In some dogs, Atopica may cause depression, lethargy, tremors, or seizures. If your dog shows any neurological symptoms, your vet may lower the dose or switch to a different medication.
- Eye problems: Some dogs have experienced eye issues like conjunctivitis (pink eye), ulcers or swollen eyes. See your vet if you notice your dog’s eyes are red, swollen or producing any discharge.
The benefits of Atopica often outweigh the risks, but you should carefully monitor your dog for any side effects when first starting the medication or if the dose is increased. Be sure to tell your vet about any side effects your dog experiences right away. Close monitoring and dosage adjustments can help make Atopica a safe treatment option for many dogs.
What is the proper dosage for Atopica?
The dosage of Atopica is based on your dog’s weight. The typical starting dose is 3.2 to 6.5 mg per pound given once a day. For example, a 20-pound dog may start with 64 to 130 mg per day. Your vet will determine the exact dosage for your dog based on their weight and symptoms. It’s important to follow your vet’s dosage instructions carefully. Never give more or less Atopica than prescribed.
What are the possible side effects?
Common side effects of Atopica include:
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Skin irritation
- Lethargy or loss of appetite
These side effects are usually mild, but contact your vet if they are severe or last more than a couple of days. More serious side effects can include blood disorders or infections. Watch your dog closely, especially when first starting Atopica or after a dosage increase.
How long will it take to start working?
You should start to see improvement in your dog’s symptoms within 4 to 6 weeks after starting Atopica. The full effects may take 8 to 12 weeks. It’s important to give Atopica consistently for at least 8 to 12 weeks to properly assess how well it’s working for your dog before making any changes to the treatment plan.
Can Atopica be used with other medications?
Atopica can potentially interact with some other drugs. Tell your vet about any other medications or supplements your dog is taking before starting Atopica. In some cases, the dosage of one or both drugs may need to be adjusted to avoid issues. Certain vaccinations may also not be as effective if given around the same time as Atopica. Your vet can determine the appropriate timing of medications and vaccinations for your dog.
How should Atopica be stored?
Store Atopica at room temperature away from heat and light. Do not refrigerate. Keep the capsules in their original packaging until ready to use. Throw away any unused Atopica after the expiration date on the packaging. Keep all medications out of the reach of children and pets.