Friday, January 17, 2014

Veterinary Highlights: Apoquel®, New Approved Drug To Control Itch And Inflammation In Allergic Dogs

This year, there is a new drug out designed to relieve inflammation and itching in allergic dogs.

It should address the need for a treatment that works fast and with minimal side effects.

Apoquel® should relieve itching within hours and provide long term relief and it should be better tolerated than steroids or cyclosporine, drugs most commonly used to control allergic dogs.

Unlike most current treatments, Apoquel® is targeted specifically to the itch and inflammation associated with allergic skin disease.

Apoquel® is an immunomodulator that blocks the action of enzymes involved with itch and inflammation.

These enzymes play an important role in the processes of inflammation and itchiness including those involved in allergic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis in dogs

Sounds interesting for sure. However, it is a new drug so caution is always advised.

Clinical trials and broad use in real life don't always reflect the same level of safety. Out vet typically likes to wait and see how a new drug does in real world. "Let somebody else's dog be the guinea pig." Generally, I agree with that approach.

However, if I had a dog really miserable from allergies, it would be something I'd put on my list of things to consider.

According to Zoetis, this drug may increase susceptibility to infections, pneumonia and Demodex mange in some dogs. It may exacerbate certain types of cancer as well.


Source article:
FDA Approves APOQUEL® (oclacitinib tablet) to Control Itch and Inflammation in Allergic Dogs

Further reading:
Apoquel by European Medicines Agency


  1. Completely agree, promising but we're using caution. Nice to have an additional option though for pet that are suffering and cannot tolerate steroids or afford cyclosporine.

    1. Thank you so much for reading! Yes, does sound promising, doesn't it? Hopefully it will prove safe.

  2. It sounds promising but my fear is that it is just going to be another bandaid that covers a wound that has no prayer of healing as the underlying problem is not being treated, in this case, a hyperactive immune system.

    Luckily veterinarians are becoming more adept at not just covering up the symptoms but trying to find the underlying allergen causing the issue. My hope is that this drug does provide relief for those animals that really need it while the underlying issue is being evaluated and treated appropriately.

    1. True; lot of treatments, little cures ... Sometimes, though, a bandaid is needed, at least temporarily.

  3. My dog has been practically itch free since we started apoquel, and now I find out through my vet it is backordered for the better part of a year. For all the hype regarding this drug, it seems Zoetis owes an explanation. Back to prednisone or I will try to find it other than the US

    1. Wow, great news it's been helping.

      Just heard about the being back ordered; so embarrassing. So sorry that ti's worked and you lost it again.

  4. It worked great on our golden but now went can't get any. So frustrating!

    1. Yes, I think it's very frustrating and embarrassing for the company to come up with a new product and then unable to fulfill the demand. So sorry. Particularly now that you know it works and can't get it.