Join Date: May 2009
Location: Mid Northern TN
Prednisone has more and worse side effects than cyclosporine even if it is cheaper. Think excessive thirst, urination, hunger, obesity, ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle wasting/atrophy, fatty liver, weakened connective tissue (resulting in joint issues, particularly cranial cruciate tears) immune system suppression setting them up for infections (usually skin, ears and bladder), iatrogenic Cushings, iatrogenic Addison's (when chronic steroids are stopped suddenly, which could be fatal) and also can predispose a patient towards tumors just like the cyclosporin.
All drugs are 'poisons' at the right amount. Cyclosporine (Atopica) is one of the best products out there for allergic dogs. It helps make the dog comfortable and hugely diminish all the kinds and expenses it otherwise take to care for one of these guys.
Remember too, that just because a drug does one thing in one species, it doesn't mean it causes it in another. (Think ibuprofen: great for humans, deadly to dogs) One other key point is that these dogs are not going to be on this drug for decades like human transplant recipients who might get another cancer because dogs and cats just don't live that long