Atopica (cyclosporine) is a potent immunosuppressive drug. In veterinary medicine, it is used primarily to treat dogs that have allergic skin disease, also called atopy, particulary in those patients that have not responded well to immunotherapy, prednisone or other allergy treatments for dogs.
Like all drugs, Atopica has both risks and benefits associated with its use. It is a very effective treatment for allergies, but because it suppresses the immune system, dogs may develop infections or rarely, even cancer when taking Atopica. Vomiting and diarrhea are the drug’s most common side-effects, but these symptoms generally disappear over time or with dose modification.
At first glance, Atopica seems to be an expensive treatment option for allergic dogs. However, the goal when using Atopica is to find the longest interval between doses that keeps them symptom-free. In the long run, many patients only need to receive one dose of Atopica every three days or so. This, in combination with the savings associated with good control of allergies (i.e. fewer trips to the veterinarian for skin and ear infections), actually makes Atopica more cost-effective than it might initially seem.