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Pimecrolimus for Dogs and Cats

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General Drug Information and Indications

Pimecrolimus is a topical anti-inflammatory drug. Ophthalmic pimecrolimus is used in the eye to treat keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). Pimecrolimus is also used on the skin to treat a wide variety of allergic or immune-based skin diseases. KCS or "dry eye" is an immune mediated disease of the lacrimal glands that results in decreased tear production. KCS occurs in both dogs and cats, although it is more common in dogs. Pimecrolimus is an immunomodulator; it can decrease the local immune response without suppressing the body's overall immune system. Cyclosporine has been the standard drug for treatment of KCS, but some animals will repons to the pimecrolimus even if they do not respond well to cyclosporine. Pimecrolimus is from the same family as tacrolimus. There are some animals that will tolerate treatment with pimecrolimus that are unable to tolerate tacrolimus due to adverse side effects.

Like many other drugs in veterinary medicine, this drug is not FDA approved for use in animals and is not available from a veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturer. Instead, it is compounded by a specialty pharmacy (What is compounding?).

How to Give this Medication

Give this medication to your pet exactly as your veterinarian prescribes. If you miss giving your pet a dose of minocycline, 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.

You should wear gloves and avoid human skin contact when applying pimecrolimus.

Wash your hands after giving your pet this medication.

Side Effects

Be sure to discuss any side effects with your veterinarian immediately.

Topical application: localized itching and skin irritation. GI upset may occur if your pet licks the topical ointment off their skin.

No information was found regarding side effects after ophthalmic use. Pimecrolimus may be less irritating than tacrolimus.


Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children. This drug should only be given to the animal for which it was prescribed. Do not give this medication to a person. Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.

Drug Interactions

Be sure to review with your veterinarian any medications or supplements your pet may be receiving.

No information regarding drug interactions was found.


If you suspect your pet or another animal was accidentally overdosed 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 at 800.222.1222.


Different strengths or dosage forms of pimecrolimus may have different storage requirements. Read the labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements of the prescription you receive.

Who is Wedgewood Pharmacy and what is compounding?

Wedgewood Pharmacy, located in Swedesboro, New Jersey, is one of the nation's largest compounding pharmacies. We fill prescriptions for compounded medications for veterinary and human-health patients. All medications dispensed from Wedgewood Pharmacy require a prescription from a licensed prescriber. We ship throughout the United States.

Why might your physician or veterinarian prescribe a compounded medication for you or your pet? Compounded medications are prescribed when the practitioner determines that the appropriate treatment is not otherwise available from a pharmaceutical manufacturer or is not available in the strength, dosage form, flavor, or package size the practitioner thinks is necessary for treatment. When your physician or veterinarian calls a prescription into a compounding pharmacy, a pharmacist prepares a medication that meets the individual needs of you or your pet. To learn more about compounding, and when compounded medications might be prescribed, please visit Patients and Professionals for Customized Care

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About the Author

Dr. Barbara Forney

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.