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Dogs and Cats
May Be Prescribed by Vets for:
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, atopic dermatities, perianal fistula
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Pimecrolimus is an immunomodulatory drug from the same family as tacrolimus. These drugs were originally developed specifically for the treatment of inflammatory skin disease in people. The mechanism of action for both pimecrolimus and tacrolimus is through the inhibition of calcium-dependent pathways that effect the enzymatic action of calcineurin. This, in turn, blocks the proliferation of T lymphocytes and cytotoxic cells.
Pimecrolimus has significant anti-inflammatory and immunmodulatory properties, veterinary use of both pimecrolimus and tacrolimus is primarily for keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) in dogs and cats, and immune-mediated dermatologic diseases.
There is a topical pimecrolimus cream that is approved for human use called Elidel®. It is used for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in humans.
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca due to decreased tear production is primarily an immune-mediated disease of the lacrimal glands. It is seen more commonly in dogs than in cats. Cyclosporine has been the standard drug for the treatment of keratoconjunctivitis sicca treatment, although not all animals respond adequately. Ophthalmic pimecrolimus is considerably more effective than cyclosporine in decreasing clinical signs due to inflammation, and equally as effective in increasing tear production. Animals with immune-mediated KCS will need to be on treatment for the rest of their lives.
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Dr. Barbara Forney is a veterinary practitioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She has a master's degree in animal science from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982.
She began to develop her interest in client education and medical writing in 1997. Recent publications include portions of The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat, and most recently Understanding Equine Medications published by the Bloodhorse.
Dr. Forney is an FEI veterinarian and an active member of the AAEP, AVMA, and AMWA.
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