Absorption of transdermal and oral cyclosporine in six healthy cats

J Am Anim Hosp Assoc. Jan-Feb 2014;50(1):36-41. doi: 10.5326/JAAHA-MS-5970. Epub 2013 Nov 11.


Cyclosporine is commonly used orally to treat feline dermatoses. Due to difficulties administering oral medications, veterinarians sometimes prescribe compounded transdermal cyclosporine, despite studies showing limited absorption. The study objective was to compare cyclosporine blood concentrations after oral administration to concentrations after transdermal application of cyclosporine (prepared in pluronic lecithin organogel [PLO]) in six cats using a controlled, cross-over design with a 2 wk washout period. Cats were dosed at 5.1-7.4 mg/kg of cyclosporine q 24 hr either per os for 7 days or transdermally for 21 days. Cyclosporine blood concentrations were measured q 7 days and after the washout period. A monoclonal-based immunoassay (lower limit of quantitation was 25 ng/mL) was used. Median concentrations on the seventh day were 2,208 ng/mL (range, 1,357-3,419 ng/mL) 2 hr after orally administered cyclosporine and 37 ng/mL (range, 25-290 ng/mL) 2 hr after transdermally applied cyclosporine. Median concentration on day 21 was 58 ng/mL (range, 51-878 ng/mL) 2 hr after transdermally applied cyclosporine. Concentrations were quantifiable for transdermally applied cyclosporine, but considered therapeutic in only one of six cats. Based on those results, transdermally applied cyclosporine was not recommended in cats because of inconsistent absorption.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antifungal Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antifungal Agents / blood
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Cats / blood
  • Cats / metabolism*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Cyclosporine / administration & dosage
  • Cyclosporine / blood
  • Cyclosporine / pharmacokinetics*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Cyclosporine