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Objective—To determine efficacy and safety of cyclosporine in the treatment of atopic dermatitis among dogs in North America.

Design—Randomized controlled (phase 1) and openlabel (phase 2) trials.

Animals—268 dogs with atopic dermatitis.

Procedure—In phase 1, dogs were randomly assigned to be treated with cyclosporine (5 mg/kg [2.3 mg/lb], PO, q 24 h) or a placebo. In phase 2, all dogs were treated with cyclosporine for 16 weeks. Frequency of cyclosporine administration was decreased if dogs improved clinically.

Results—At the end of phase 1, canine atopic dermatitis extent and severity index (CADESI) scores for dogs treated with cyclosporine were significantly lower than scores for control dogs. Percentage of dogs with severe pruritus decreased from 67% to 16% for the cyclosporine group but from 66% to only 61% for the control group. During phase 2, cyclosporine dosage was decreased to every-otherday administration in 39% of the dogs after 4 weeks. After 12 weeks, 22% of the dogs were treated twice weekly and 36% were treated every other day. After 16 weeks, CADESI score had decreased > 50% in 68% of the dogs and 47% of dogs had no or mild pruritus. The most frequent adverse reactions were gastrointestinal tract signs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that cyclosporine is efficacious for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in dogs and that frequency of cyclosporine administration can be reduced following an initial induction period. The drug was well tolerated. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005:226:1855–1863)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association