Does Atopica For Dogs Work and What Are The Side Effects?

by tessa

So Maddie is primarily allergic to her humans which, as you might imagine, is a reasonably rotten outcome. Especially considering that she is the sit in your lap and sleep glued to your hip in the bed variety of dog.

Having tried the home remedy route it was time to try something new. It was time to enlist the bigger allergy guns.

Our vet suggested that there was a newer medication on the market that was seeing great results in her other patients. The primary drawback was cost.

And when I say drawback I mean the ‘I’m not spending that kind of money’ kind of drawback.

She had said previously that a one month supply of Atopica (daily medication) was in the neighborhood of $130, and that my friend is a neighborhood I don’t live in.

Fortunately, as the story goes, the manufacturer had reduced the price of the drug (damn kind of a multi-billion dollar corporation like Novartis, no?), and she had also reduced her margin, thus making the medicine almost affordable.

Heck for $40 a month, with the promise of sleep, I’ll give it a shot.

We were warned that the primary side effects of Atopica were nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.  The vet suggested starting the medication with a side dose of an anti-nausea med – which I declined. Especially after she mentioned that most dogs do well on the drug even without the anti-nausea chaser.

Wrong choice.

Maddie was fine for about 4 hours. Then she started to vomit. That was followed by diarrhea. We’re talking about messing up the house style sick.

We were about the throw in the towel and resign ourselves to incessant itching when the vet pleaded with me to try it one more time – on a lower dose and with the anti-nausea chaser for the first 4 days.

The outcome?


I won’t say that she is 100% itch free – hell I’m not 100% itch free – but for the most part she is doing incredibly well.

Yes, I made the mistake of trying to put her back on regular food and learned the hard way that she is indeed still very allergic to chicken.

Dumb human.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Mo March 3, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Please tell me where you purchased Atopica for $40.00 per month?

tessa March 4, 2011 at 11:05 AM

It was a special that the vet was running. Reasonably certain that price is well in the past.

Belinda April 4, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Can you buy the anti-Nausea meds over the counter or do I need to get from my vet. I to have given my 7 lb yorkie Atopica but it always makes her vomit. But I can’t stand the itching and I am sure she hates it too. Any help would be appreciated

tessa April 4, 2011 at 3:34 PM

We needed to have a prescription – which of course drives up the cost of the whole undertaking. 🙁

Garitaar April 9, 2011 at 12:53 PM

I tried Atopica for over three years for my cavalier. Maybe it helped some, but I was thinking that while close, Atopica missed the mark. I put my cavalier on 50 mg per day of Minocycline, plus the GNC Amino Acid Burst 3000. For much less money, his skin issues were gone – smooth and pink and better than it was ever accomplished with Atopica.

He also gets a GNC vitamin B complex 50, and some cod-liver oil capsules.

The biggest realization I had early on with his skin issues was that any dairy product made him itchy. He loved and begged for cheese, from which he even got cloudy eyes. For this, I treated him with GNC “Triple Lecithin 1200”, which cleared his eyes promptly, and cleared the fat out of his blood, which also helped the itching. I only give him the lecithin capsules now if I notice any clouding of the eyes.

tessa June 1, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Having tried all of the elimination diets without certain success I am envious that you have narrowed the issue down so succinctly!

Eve July 14, 2011 at 6:16 AM

My male lab/pit mix has skin allergies too. Lots of chewing, licking and scratching until he is crying and bleeding 🙁 This skin condition is also accompanied by very horrible gas! He was on steroids witch stopped the skin problem but mad him 12lbs heavier and the gas was still there something aweful! Worried about the long term side effects of the steroids my vet and I decided to try a generic Atopica-Gengraf (cyclosporine). I started making his food. Just boiled chicken, carrots, peas, celery, sweet potato and cauliflower, apple cider vinegar and rice. I added 1000 mg of omega3’s. Then I have to cut open the Gengraf and squeeze it into his food because he will not swallow this pill (I have tried everything to hide it and nothing works!) He gets Benadryl too! His aweful gas is gone! So something in the Iams dog kibble must have had his digestive track out of wack? He has dropped the extra 12lbs he gained from the steroids but he is still itching, not as bad but he is not normal yet and it has been about 6weeks. I stopped letting him sleep in my daughters bed when I heard dogs can have human dander allergies. My daughter has psoriasis so her skin sheds pretty fast and alot. Her dandruf is always all over the furniture because she scratches and it flakes off everywhere. So now I wonder if my dog is simply allergic to human dander?

pjew July 31, 2011 at 5:31 PM

My dogs are having these same issues. Bendryl helps the 2 of them sleep a little better at night.I thought it was the shampoo I was using as they seemed to get worse after a bath.Going to try the oatmeal shampoo tomorrow.I also think that if I start drinking Captain Morgan each night,their itching might SEEM a WHOLE lot better to me!!

tessa August 1, 2011 at 7:31 AM

@pjew: Never have tried the Captain Morgan remedy but I’ll put on my short list for certain!

Liz April 5, 2012 at 12:22 PM

My maltipoo Morty is scratching itching n licking his fur off. Tried the diet of only vet food and no snacks, hard to do. Used sprays didn’t work, now using oatmeal bath shampoos leaving for 10 minutes and atropica and he seems to be a lot better. Although the meds are $100a month. He is worth it.

Sara April 7, 2012 at 7:15 AM

My little Patterdale cross has some sort of allergies, we’re now on Atopica, which some days makes him sick, other days it doesn’t. I also have to bath him with Malaseb shampoo, which, as the other person said, seems to make him itch after bathing. I asked my vet about this and she said that itching after bathing was quite normal. As for the cost of Atopica, I got it for literally half the price from the internet, and that included the cost of the prescription!

Donna September 4, 2012 at 1:47 PM

We have been giving our Schnauzer Atopica for his itching which started when we moved to the country. We started with the one-a-day program for the first month and have now gone to every other day. He is still licking his paws constantly and “all-of-a-sudden” lost his hearing. If we stop the Atopica (which doesn’t seem to help much anyway) can his hearing come back?

jim December 4, 2015 at 3:03 AM

Omega 3 try it

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