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Atopica For Cats

Atopica For Cats by Novartis Direct

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Atopica® for Cats


Generic Name:

Cyclosporine for Cats

General Description:

Cyclosporine for Cats is an immunosuppressive drug used to control feline allergic dermatitis in cats at least 6 months of age and at least 3 lbs body weight. This oral solution selectively acts on the immune cells involved in the allergic reaction, reducing the inflammation and itching associated with allergic dermatitis.
Cats with allergic dermatitis scratch, lick and chew their skin which can cause red, raised crusty bumps, open sores and/or hair loss. Allergic dermatitis is a common skin disease in cats and is caused by allergens such as house dust mites or pollens which stimulate an exaggerated immune response. The disease is chronic, recurrent, and requires lifelong management.

What is this drug?
  • An immunosuppressive agent
  • An oral solution given by mouth
Reasons for prescribing:
  • Used to control feline allergic dermatitis which may cause your cat to scratch, lick or chew his or her skin, or may cause inflamed, crusty, red bumps or open sores, with or without hair loss
What cats should not take this medication?
  • Those with a history of cancer or that may possibly have cancer currently
  • Those diagnosed with feline leukemia virus (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
  • Cats weighing less than 3 pounds or those less than 6 months of age
  • Breeding cats, pregnant or nursing queens
  • If your pet has had an allergic reaction to cyclosporine

Give according to your veterinarian’s instructions. Your veterinarian will tell you what amount is right for your cat.
Cyclosporine for Cats can be given either mixed with food or directly into the cat’s mouth. If given with food, the solution should be mixed with a small amount of food, preferably after a sufficient period of fasting to ensure your cat eats it completely. When given directly into the mouth, insert the oral dosing syringe into the cat’s mouth and deliver the entire dose, just after feeding. Whenever possible, administer on a consistent schedule. Do not change the way you give this medication to your cat without first speaking with your veterinarian.
Give daily until improvement is seen, generally within 4-6 weeks.
You should contact your veterinarian if you are not satisfied with your cat’s response. Once the signs of allergic dermatitis are satisfactorily controlled, your veterinarian may reduce the frequency of administration of the product. Dose adjustment should only be carried out in consultation with your veterinarian.
Your veterinarian will perform a clinical assessment at regular intervals and adjust the frequency of administration up or down according to the clinical response obtained.

Instructions for Assembling the Dispensing System and Preparing a Dose

The dispensing system consists of 4 parts:

  1. A bottle containing the medicine, with rubber stopper and a screw cap to close the bottle after use.
  2. A plastic adapter with dip tube that you will push into the neck of the bottle. The adapter must always remain in the bottle after first use.
  3. An oral dosing syringe that fits into the top of the plastic adapter to withdraw the prescribed dose of medicine from the bottle.
  4. A plastic vial containing the plastic adapter and oral dosing syringe. Save the plastic vial to store the oral dosing syringe between each use.
Fitting the Plastic Adapter into the New Bottle of Medicine

Remove and save the screw cap.

  • Remove and dispose of the rubber stopper.
  • Hold the open bottle upright on a table and push the plastic adapter firmly into the neck of the bottle as far as you can, then close the bottle with the screw cap.
  • To provide a child-resistant closure, push down on the child-resistant screw cap as you turn it.
Preparing a Dose of Medicine
  1. Push and turn the child-resistant screw cap to open the bottle. Note: Always close the bottle with the child-resistant screw cap after use.
  2. Check that the plunger of the oral dosing syringe is pushed all the way down.
  3. Keep the bottle upright and insert the oral dosing syringe firmly into the plastic adapter.
  4. Slowly pull the plunger up so that the oral dosing syringe fills with the medicine.
  5. Expel any large bubbles by pushing and pulling the plunger a few times. The presence of a few tiny bubbles is not important for dosing accuracy.
  6. Withdraw the dose of medicine prescribed by your veterinarian. The scale on the oral dosing syringe corresponds to the cat’s body weight. Note: If the prescribed dose is more than the maximum volume marked on the oral dosing syringe, you will need to reload the syringe to withdraw the full dose.
  7. Remove the oral dosing syringe by gently twisting it out of the plastic adapter. You can now place the oral dosing syringe over a small amount of food or introduce the syringe in the mouth of your cat and push the medicine out of the syringe. Do not rinse or clean the oral dosing syringe between uses. Store the oral dosing syringe in the plastic tube between each use.
What if a dose is missed?

If a dose is missed, give it as soon as you can, but do not give more than one dose/day. If it is time already for the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to the normal schedule. Do not give two doses at the same time.

What to tell/ask a veterinarian before giving medication?
Talk to your veterinarian about:
  • When will your pet need to be rechecked
  • What are the potential side effects your cat may experience while taking this drug
  • What tests may need to be performed prior to and during treatment with this drug
  • What are the risks and benefits of using this drug
Tell your veterinarian about:
  • If your pet has experienced side-effects on other drugs/products
  • If your pet has experienced digestive upset now or ever
  • Any history of lack of appetite and/or weight loss your cat has had
  • If your pet has experienced any other medical problems or allergies now or ever
  • All medicines and supplements that you are giving your pet or plan to give your pet, including those you can get without a prescription. Your veterinarian may want to check that all of your pet's medicines can be given together.
  • If your pet is pregnant, nursing or if you plan to breed your pet
Storage and Warnings:

Store in the original container at room temperature between 59 and 77°F. Protect from freezing and do not refrigerate. Once opened, use contents within two months for the 5 mL container and 11 weeks for the 17 mL container. Close the bottle with the child-resistant screw cap after use. To provide a child-resistant closure, push down on the child-resistant screw cap as you turn it.
Do not eat, drink, smoke, or use smokeless tobacco while handling this product.
Wash hands after administration. In case of accidental ingestion, seek medical advice immediately and show the package insert or the label to the physician.
People should not take Cyclosporine. Keep this and all medication out of reach of children.
Call your physician immediately if you accidentally swallow Cyclosporine for Cats.
Pregnant owners should avoid handling this drug.
People with known hypersensitivity to cyclosporine should avoid contact with Cyclosporine for Cats.

Potential side effects:
  • Like all other drugs, may cause some side effects in individual cats. These are normally mild, but serious side effects have been reported in cats taking Cyclosporine for Cats. Serious side effects can, in rare situations, result in death. It is important to stop the medication and contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your cat may have a medical problem or side effect while on this drug.
  • The most commonly reported side effect was vomiting. In most cases, the vomiting stopped with continued use. Weight loss, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lethargy, and drooling were the next most frequent side effects observed.
  • Persistent, progressive weight loss may be associated with more serious side effects. You should monitor your cat’s appetite and body weight. If you think that your cat is losing
  • weight, contact your veterinarian.
  • May increase susceptibility to infection and to the development of tumors
  • May result in decreased immune response to vaccination
  • May cause elevated levels of serum glucose, creatinine, and urea nitrogen.
  • Use with caution in cases with diabetes mellitus or renal insufficiency
  • High doses may cause immune system suppression which may cause your pet to be more susceptible to infection. Contact your veterinarian if your pet has a fever (>103°F), painful urination, fatigue, sneezing, coughing or runny eyes.
Can this drug be given with other drugs?
  • Cyclosporine for Cats should not be given with other drugs that may lower the immune response. Cyclosporine for Cats has been safely used in conjunction with other common medications. However, interactions with certain medications are possible.
  • Possible interactions may occur with vitamins and supplements, allopurinol, aminoglycosides, amiodarone, amphotericin, androgens, azole antifungals, calcium channel blockers, cimetidine, colchicines, corticosteroids, digoxin, eythromycin, etoposide, metoclopramide, omeprazole, phenobarbital, phenytoin, probucol, rifampin, terbinafine, trimethoprim sulfa, and some vaccines.
  • Make sure your veterinarian knows all of the medicines and supplements you are giving your pet or plan to give your pet, including those you can get without a prescription. Do not start, stop or change the dosage of any medicine, including this one, before checking with your veterinarian.
  • If your pet experiences any unusual reactions when taking multiple medications, contact your veterinarian.

Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet receives more than the prescribed amount.

What else should I know?

Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoal parasite that cats can become infected with from eating raw meat. Infection may lead to serious illness (clinical toxoplasmosis). Cats that have not been exposed to Toxoplasma gondii may be at risk of developing clinical toxoplasmosis if they become infected while under treatment with Cyclosporine for Cats, which can be fatal. To avoid infection keep your cat indoors, do not feed raw meat, and do not allow your cat to hunt.
If your cat becomes seriously ill, consult your veterinarian who will recommend the appropriate treatment.

Notify your veterinarian if your animal's condition does not improve or worsens despite this treatment.

As with all prescribed medicines, Cylcosporine for Cats should only be given to the pet for which it was prescribed.

It should be given only for the condition for which it was prescribed.

(Sandimmune, Neoral, Atopica)

Common Drug Name

Common Brand Names
Sandimmune, Neoral, Atopica
Generic products are available.

Store at room temperature (70-77°F), in a tight, light resistant, childproof container. Protect from freezing and do not refrigerate. If the oral suspension or noncompounded capsules are stored at less than 68°F, they may gel. If this occurs, allow to warm to room temperature. Shake the oral liquid before using. After opening the oral liquid, use it within 2 months. If the capsules come in a foil blister pack, do not open the pack until ready to use. 

Cyclosporine suppresses the immune system and is used to treat immune-mediated diseases, especially those involving the blood or skin. It may also be used in the treatment of anal fistulas in dogs, asthma in cats, and to prevent rejection of transplanted organs. One brand, Atopica, is approved for use to treat atopy (allergy to inhaled substances.)

Dose and Administration
IMPORTANT: Always follow the dosage instructions provided by your veterinarian. If you have difficulty giving the medication, contact your veterinarian.
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.
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. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to the regular schedule. Do not give 2 doses at once.
This medication should only be given to the pet for whom it was prescribed.

Possible Side Effects
May see loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. More rarely, may see overgrowth of the gums, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, and increased hair growth. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the above 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.

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 breeding or pregnant animals. If the mother is receiving cyclo­sporine, place the offspring on milk repla­cer after they have received the colostrum (first milk immediately after birth).
There are two brands of the oral liquid form (Sandimmune and Neoral). They are not the same strength, so one should not be substituted for the other.
Cyclosporine is inactivated by some plastics. Do not leave the medication in plastic cups or syringes for a long time or it may lose its effectiveness.
Cyclosporine can become toxic if its level in the blood becomes too high. Consult with your veterinarian regarding the physical examinations and laboratory testing necessary prior to and during treatment with cyclosporine. 

Drug, Food, and Test Interactions
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 trimethoprim/sulfa, rifampin, phenobarbital, phenytoin, terbinafine, probucol, omeprazole amino-glycosides (e.g., gentamicin) or amphotericin, vaccines, or modified live vaccines, since interactions may occur.

Signs of Toxicity/Overdose
May see loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, jaundice (yellowing of gums, skin, or eyes), vomiting, or lethargy. 
If you know or suspect your pet has had an overdose, or if you observe any of these signs in your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Keep this and all other medications out of the reach of children and pets.

This information may not cover all possible uses, directions, side effects, precautions, allergic reactions, drug interactions, or withdrawal times.  Always consult your own veterinarian for specific advice concerning the treatment of your pet.


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