Tacrolimus for Dogs and Cats
General Drug Information and Indications
How to Give this Medication
Tacrolimus is one of a group of relatively new drugs used to treat dry eye in dogs and cats. The veterinary term for dry eye is keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS. It is seen more commonly in dogs than in cats. Cyclosporine and tacrolimus are the two drugs most commonly used to stimulate tear production. Cyclosporine has been the standard drug for years, although topical ophthalmic tacrolimus may be more effective and, as a result, may be appropriate in animals that do not respond to cyclosporine. Animals with dry eye will need to be on treatment for the rest of their lives.
Give this medication to your pet exactly as your veterinarian prescribes. If you miss giving your pet a dose of tacrolimus, give the next dose as soon as you remember or, if it is close to the next scheduled dose, return to the regular schedule. Do not double dose to catch up.
Administering eye medications to animals can be a struggle and may require patience and practice. Try not to touch the tube or container tip to your dog’s eye or eyelid. It is also important to not contaminate the medication by touching the tip with your fingers or hand. Your veterinarian can help you develop a technique that will be effective and minimally stressful to both you and your dog.
If you are giving your dog more than one eye medication (such as artificial tears and tacrolimus), try to allow at least 5 minutes between medications.
Wash your hands after giving your pet this medication.
Be sure to discuss any side effects with your veterinarian immediately.
Tacrolimus is very well tolerated for treatment of dry eye.
Side effects are unlikely with tacrolimus ophthalmic.
Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children. Tacrolimus is a prescription drug and should be used according to your veterinarian’s directions. It should only be given to the animal for which it was prescribed. Do not give this medication to a person.
Be sure to review with your veterinarian any medications or supplements your pet may be receiving.
If you suspect your pet or another animal was overdosed accidentally or has eaten this medication inadvertently, contact your veterinarian or the A.S.P.C.A.’s Animal Poison Control Center
at 888.426.4435. Always bring the prescription container with you when you take your pet for treatment.
If you or someone else has accidentally ingested this medication call the National Capital Poison Center
Different strengths or dosage forms of tacrolimus may have different storage requirements. Read the labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements of the prescription you receive.
About the Author
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.
You can purchase books by Dr. Forney at www.exclusivelyequine.com
The information contained on this site is general in nature and is intended for use as an informational aid. It does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, or interactions of the products shown, nor is the information intended as medical advice or diagnosis for individual health problems or for making an evaluation as to the risks and benefits of using a particular product. You should consult your doctor about diagnosis and treatment of any health problems. Information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA"), nor has the FDA approved the products to diagnose, cure or prevent disease.
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