Is Atopica Safe For Dogs?

Is Atopica Safe For Dogs
Post At A Glance

Nothing seemed to be helping Buffy – an affectionate buff colored Cocker Spaniel.  His owner was interested in holistic avenues. She was referred to a dermatologist after she had tried everything,  (even steroids) and nothing had helped. The dermatologist prescribed Atopica for Buffy and the improvement was almost immediate.

She couldn’t understand why her holistic veterinarian and her local veterinarian  (who was aware of her holistic leaning) had not prescribed Atopica.

The truth is that many veterinarians, both holistic and conventional, shiver with dread when they contemplate this product called Atopica. One of my clients – a nurse – contacted me after her veterinarian had suggested Atopica. She explained to me the strict rules and protective actions that a nurse needs to take when administering cyclopsporine, (which is the active ingredient in Atopica) to human patients were enough to make her very wary of using the product on her dog.

Atopica: What is it?

Atopica is a product that touts its efficaciousness with dogs who have allergies and other dermatological conditions. Most of my readers will know that allergies result from an incorrect response of the immune system to foods and environmental substances. For many years steroids such as prednisolone were used to decrease the ability of the immune system to function and thus relieve the allergies. It’s when steroids can’t and don’t work that Atopica is prescribed.

Why does it often work so well? What does it do? How does it work?

Cyclosporine is a mycotoxin. Mycotoxins are harmful products produced by fungi. They are chemical in nature and are immune suppressing. Fungi rely on the mycotoxins they produce to kill any bacteria, other fungi, viruses and anything else that might compete with them. They suppress the immune system of dogs, cats and humans. Some examples of mycotoxins found in nature are aflotoxins, the most potent carcinogen on earth, and ocharatoxins – both produced by an Aspergillus fungi.   Medical mycotoxins include Adriamycin, a chemotherapy drug and lovastatin, a cholesterol lowering drug.

The immunosuppressive effects of cyclosporine were discovered in Switzerland in 1972 and it was used successfully in preventing organ rejection in kidney transplants and later in liver transplants. Apart from transplant medicine, cyclosporine is used for a variety of skin conditions in both humans and pets. Of course, in transplant patients it suppresses the immune system so they do not reject their transplants.

The Side Effects

The side effects of this drug include headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shaking hands, swollen bleeding gums, cancer, kidney failure, hypertension, easy bruising, hearing problems, yellowing of skin and eyes, loss of consciousness, vision changes, swollen glands, immune suppression and dizziness. Interestingly, these aren’t side effects at all, but rather symptoms of poisoning caused by this mycotoxin poison. Farmers are familiar with the deleterious effects that mycotoxins can have on animals that eat moldy grain containing mycotoxins and the symptoms all agree.  In fact, death is one side effect listed on the feline prescription.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has 17 pages of adverse events (starting on page 452) that have been reported for oral use of Atopica (cyclosporine) in dogs.

Here are just the top 12 from the first page. It’s ironic that the fifth adverse event is pruritus, which means itching – just what Atopica is supposed to stop!

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) table of adverse events reported for oral use of Atopica (cyclosporine) in dogs

The literature for people states that their risk of infection will be higher when they are on this drug and to avoid people with contagious diseases or infections. Of course, your pets will have the same increased risk for infection and cancer.  You’re told to wash your hands after you apply it to your cat or dog in the instructions. Hell, I’d wear latex gloves if I ever had to apply the product.

Here’s an interesting tidbit. I was totally amazed when I heard it and it made my distrust of the pharmaceutical industry go way up. I had a client who worked in the laboratories of a prestigious pharmaceutical company doing tests to determine the side effects from many drugs.  She told me that they do initial testing protocols to set up the study and watch when the side effects occur.

Let’s say, for example, that after 90 days 40% of the rats develop cancer and 20% go into liver failure. This information results in the company designing the study to last for no more than 60 or 70 days so that they can state that after that time they found that a minor percentage had minor side effects.

I guess when you view it from their perspective it’s the smart way to do it.

It took many years of my practicing medicine to fully understand that drug companies want to make money and not help or cure patients.  If one pill would cure your high blood pressure what would happen to their monthly revenue if you stopped going in every 4 weeks to refill. Just so, no pet vaccination company brags that their vaccinations last for 10 or more years because of the revenue that they would lose.

Nowadays, one out of two dogs will develop cancer. Every dog and cat needs an immune system that works and works well. And this is why veterinarians who care and also understand the mechanism behind how Atopica works shiver in their shoes.  They wouldn’t use it on their dogs and cats and you shouldn’t use it on yours.

For many of my veterinary friends, just the mention of this product makes us stare at each other in disbelief- speechless.  That’s why I decided to write this for you today.  Then you’ll know what we know.

RELATED: Why you shouldn’t use Cytopoint for your dog either …


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