What is Atopica for Cats?

Cat Scratching

Does your cat constantly scratch and lick its fur? Does it seem like fleas or other parasites have infested it, yet they aren’t visibly present? If the answer is yes, your cat could be having allergic dermatitis. This condition is your cat’s response to allergens in the environment like dust mites, pollen, or mold spores. Their diet can also lead to the condition. The worst part about allergic dermatitis is that it doesn’t go away on its own, even if you revisit your cat’s diet. A cat with such a condition will chew, lick and scratch its skin, leading to open sores, fur loss, redness, and crusty bumps when left untreated. It starts by identifying the cause and devising the right treatment plan to revive their health. Fortunately, this guide will give you an overview of Atopica for cats regarding dosage administration, method of administration, and what to expect afterward.

What causes allergic dermatitis in cats?

According to Elanco.US, feline allergic dermatitis is a skin condition in cats that develops from an allergic reaction. A cat’s skin with allergic dermatitis is itchy and may have lesions. This causes them to lick, bite or scratch the affected areas. The most common areas affected by this skin condition are the base of the tail, face, ears, belly, and lower spine. The diagnosis for miliary dermatitis is based on the cat’s medical history and clinical symptoms. If your vet sees fleabites or fleas around your home, they might conclude that it is due to a flea allergy. They might recommend flea treatment immediately to control the allergy. But if your cat’s skin condition doesn’t improve after the flea treatment, your vet might refer your cat to a dermatological vet for specialist diagnosis. The skin vet will assess the cat for lesions or based on their response to the itchiness to determine what is causing the allergy. In most cases, they might recommend Atopica for cats, depending on their weight, age, and clinical symptoms.

What is Atopica for cats?

Atopica for Cats is an oral solution with cyclosporine as its active ingredient manufactured by Elanco Company. It is formulated to control cat allergic dermatitis as shown by excoriations in the face and neck. The 100 mg/mL oral solution contains a cyclic polypeptide and immune regulating agent with 11 amino acids, according to Daily Med. It comes as a result of the actions of a metabolite by a fungal species, Beauveria nivea. It works by creating a microemulsion in an aqueous environment upon administration.

How to dispense Atopica for cats

Before administering Atopica for cats, make sure you inform your vet about:

  • Your cat’s history of lack of appetite. If they’ve shed weight in the past, make sure you inform them about it
  • Any recent digestive problems like vomiting and diarrhea
  • Any serious health conditions that your cat has been diagnosed with
  • Any allergies your cat might have had in the past
  • Any medications your cat has used in the past or is currently taking. Make sure to include a list of all over-the-counter and other prescriptions. Dietary supplements also qualify to be mentioned during the patient-vet consultation.
  • Your intention for breeding your cat. Your vet can also check if your cat is lactating or pregnant to determine if they’re eligible for Atopica treatment.

During the consultation, ask your vet the following questions:

  • What tests will my cat have before prescribing Atopica for cats?
  • What potential side effects can I expect my cat to have during Atopica treatment?
  • How frequent will my cat’s visit to the vet be during the treatment?
  • Based on their findings, what are the pros and cons of Atopica for cats?
  • What actions should I take if my cat’s allergic dermatitis doesn’t improve after administering Atopica for cats?
  • ·Is there an alternative drug for addressing allergic dermatitis if my cat is allergic to cyclosporine?
  • What happens if my cat has been diagnosed with the condition that puts them at health risk if I decide to use Atopica for cats?
  • Will allergic dermatitis come back even after my cat recovers in the near future?
  • Which skin supplements can I use to improve my cat’s allergic dermatitis, even during Atopica treatment?

Atopica comes in a 100 mg/mL bottle that should be dispensed orally after feeding. Wear gloves when handling this medication. Additionally, you can follow these steps to ensure the medicine works effectively on your cat:

Step 1: Opening the bottle

The bottle has a child-resistant screw cap which you can use to open and close the bottle after administration. You will find the rubber stopper. Assemble the dispensing system by dipping the tube into the neck of the bottle using the plastic adapter. Remember to keep the adapter inside the bottle upon the first usage. You will also find an oral dosing syringe that fits into the plastic adapter. Use it to suck in the prescribed dose of medicine from the bottle. Remember to follow all the instructions for preparing a dose of medicine as indicated on the bottle’s label. There is also a plastic vial comprising the plastic adapter and oral syringe. Make sure to store it in the oral dosing syringe between each use.

Step 2: Withdrawing the medicine from the bottle

When using the syringe’s plunger to suck in medicine from the Atopica bottle, make sure you push it all the way down while holding it upright. Keep pulling the plunger until the syringe sucks in the medicine. Should there be big bubbles, ensure you expel them from the plunger. Afterward, take the oral syringe by mildly twisting out the plastic adapter.

Step 3: Hold your cat in position and dispense the medicine orally

Some cats can be aggressive, particularly when the medicine is involved. In that case, get someone to hold the cat so that you don’t end up spilling the contents of the medicine anywhere else besides your cat’s mouth. Now is the right time to dispense the drug into your cat’s mouth by pressing the plunger.

Step 4: Resealing the bottle

Once you’ve given your cat the medicine, immerse the syringe in warm water for cleaning. Dry it out, put it back in its rightful container (the plastic vial), and cover it to prevent foreign materials from accessing it. The next step is resealing the child-resistant screw cap. Make sure you push the cap and screw. It becomes child-resistant once you secure it firmly without the plunger. Atopica for Cats should only be administered in its original container. Ensure you store it in controlled room temperatures ranging from 59 to 77°F. Upon opening, make sure you use the contents within two months for the 5mL and 11 weeks for the 17 mL container. Finally, check if the bottle’s label indicates that it’s manufactured by Elanco US Inc. Greenfield, IN, USA.

The side effects of Atopica for cats may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Runny stomach
  • Overproduction of saliva
  • Sneezing or rhinitis
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • A behavioral disorder like increased aggression, hyperactivity, and withdrawal from socialization


  • Cats with a history of malignant disorders or vulnerable to the same might not benefit from this drug.
  • Avoid using it on cats with leukemia virus (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
  • Avoid using it on cats who are hypersensitive to cyclosporine
  • Administration on breeding, pregnant, and lactating cats should be under the watchful eye of a licensed vet


  • It’s not clear if Atopica is safe and effective for cats under six months of age and less than 1.4 kg body weight.
  • Before administering Atopica for cats, make sure you take them to the vet for FeLV and FIV infections screening. If they test positive for these conditions, ask your vet to prescribe another drug.
  • Atopica for Cats may result in increased serum glucose, urea nitrogen, and creatinine levels. Make sure you consult your vet first before administering this drug to your cat, particularly if it’s diagnosed with diabetes mellitus or renal insufficiency.
  • The administration of Atopica for cats should be tailored based on the cat’s medical history and current health condition. For example, your cat may be diagnosed with allergic dermatitis conditions like skin inflammation or pruritus. In that case, you might want to get your vet’s first opinion before administering the Atopica for cats.
  • Atopica for cats is considered an immunosuppressant. When this happens, your cat may be vulnerable to infections and the development of neoplasia. So, keep a close eye on your cat should the side effects become adverse.
  • If you’re allergic to cyclosporine, get someone else to administer Atopica for cats instead of going at it on your own
  • If you or anyone in your household accidentally ingests Atopica for cats, rush to the ER. Make sure you provide the package insert or label to your doctor for urgent intervention
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after the administration.
  • Extra pointers for Atopica for cats

In a nutshell, Atopica for cats:

  • It is an effective treatment for allergic dermatitis and other skin conditions
  • It has an active ingredient known as cyclosporine
  • It doesn’t contain steroids
  • It can be added into the cat’s food for easy dosing
  • The 17 mL vial outlives its usefulness after 11 weeks of opening
  • The 5 mL vial outlives its usefulness after two months of opening

Can I administer Atopica for cats on my dog?

No. Atopica for Cats is formulated to control allergic dermatitis in cats alone. Allergic dermatitis in dogs is far much different. Fortunately, there is Atopica for dogs which you can buy.

Can I give my newborn kittens Atopica for cats?

No. According to 1800 PetMeds, Atopica for cats is not the ideal treatment for newborns kittens less than six months of age and weighing less than three pounds. Your vet should recommend the safest and most effective medication to help your kitten this age recover.

What happens if Atopica for cats doesn’t improve my cat’s allergic dermatitis?

In most cases, your cat’s allergic dermatitis could be severe beyond control. Sometimes, there could be an underlying issue that prevents the medication from working effectively. Your vet should advise you accordingly if your cat’s condition doesn’t improve

How often will I recheck with my cat’s vet during and after Atopica administration?

It’s necessary to visit your vet before and after administering Atopica for cats. Your vet might want to confirm if the dose of medication is correct. You can schedule per month vet visits for six months when your pet’s condition has improved.

Can I stop the medication if my cat’s condition improves?

No. Your cat should continue receiving the medication even if they stop biting, chewing, or licking their skin. However, your vet may reduce the dosage requirement if your cat shows improvement during the first few days.

How should I help my cat if it’s experiencing side effects from Atopica?

Almost all medications present side effects depending on the animal’s immune system and medical history. Please don’t stop the treatment if your cat vomits or becomes hyperactive unless your vet instructs you to do so. They can check if your cat is hypersensitive to cyclosporine and recommend another treatment.

Can I use skin supplements along with Atopica for cats?

Maybe. While most skin supplements are designed to maintain your cat’s skin health, they might not work well with Atopica for cats. You might want to check with your vet first before buying one.


Some studies suggest that Atopica for cats is an effective and safe treatment for controlling allergic dermatitis. The bottle comes in 5mL and 11 weeks for the 17 mL container and is suitable for cats aged six months and above, weighing three pounds and more. Your cat’s skin condition should improve with proper administration in one month. Before administering Atopica for cats, make sure you visit your vet for an accurate diagnosis of underlying conditions and examine clinical signs to determine if your cat will benefit from it.

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