Is Cytopoint a Steroid?

If your dog suffers from allergies, you may have come across various treatment options, including steroids, to help manage their symptoms. Among these treatments, Cytopoint has emerged as a popular alternative. In this article, we’ll explore whether Cytopoint is a steroid, its advantages, and how it compares to other treatment options such as Apoquel.

What is Cytopoint?

Cytopoint is an injectable, monoclonal antibody therapy designed to target and neutralize a specific protein called interleukin-31 (IL-31), responsible for causing itchiness in dogs with atopic dermatitis. Unlike steroids, Cytopoint is not a corticosteroid, which means it doesn’t have the same side effects commonly associated with steroid use.

Benefits of Cytopoint as a Non-Steroidal Treatment

Fewer side effects: Since Cytopoint is not a steroid, it does not carry the same risk of side effects such as increased thirst, appetite, and potential long-term damage to the liver or kidneys.

Targeted treatment: Cytopoint specifically targets IL-31, a major itch-inducing protein, providing relief for dogs with atopic dermatitis without affecting other aspects of their immune system.

Long-lasting relief: One Cytopoint injection can provide itch relief for up to 4-8 weeks, reducing the need for frequent medication administration.

Cytopoint vs. Apoquel: How Do They Compare?

Apoquel is an oral medication that works by inhibiting the Janus kinase (JAK) enzymes, which play a role in the inflammatory process. Here are some differences between Cytopoint and Apoquel:

Mode of administration: While Cytopoint is an injectable treatment administered by a veterinarian, Apoquel is an oral tablet given daily.

Speed of action: Apoquel starts working within hours of administration, whereas Cytopoint may take up to a week to provide noticeable itch relief.

Potential side effects: Apoquel carries a risk of side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, and reduced white blood cell count. In contrast, Cytopoint’s side effects are relatively rare and mild, including possible injection site reactions.

Age restrictions: Apoquel is approved for dogs aged 12 months and older, while Cytopoint can be used in dogs aged 8 months and older.

See also  Apoquel Generic

Is Cytopoint Safe for Your Dog?

Cytopoint has been extensively studied and shown to be safe and effective for managing itchiness associated with atopic dermatitis in dogs. It does not modulate the immune system in the same way as cyclosporine, steroids, or Apoquel, making it a safer long-term option for many dogs.

However, it is crucial to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best treatment plan for your dog’s specific needs, considering factors such as age, breed, and overall health.

The Role of Diet and Environmental Management in Allergy Relief

In addition to treatments like Cytopoint, it’s crucial to address any dietary or environmental factors that may be contributing to your dog’s allergies. Here are some tips to consider:

Hypoallergenic diet: Work with your veterinarian to identify potential food allergens and consider transitioning to a hypoallergenic or hydrolyzed protein diet, which may help alleviate allergy symptoms.

Regular grooming: Regular baths using a gentle, hypoallergenic shampoo can help remove allergens from your dog’s coat, reducing itchiness and irritation.

Environmental control: Minimize your dog’s exposure to common environmental allergens by keeping your home clean, using air purifiers, and washing your dog’s bedding frequently.

Flea prevention: Ensure your dog is on an effective flea prevention program, as flea allergies are a common cause of itchiness in dogs.

Seeking Expert Advice: When to Consult a Veterinary Dermatologist

If your dog’s allergies persist despite trying treatments like Cytopoint or Apoquel, it may be time to consult a veterinary dermatologist. These specialists have additional training in diagnosing and treating skin conditions and can provide expert guidance on managing your dog’s allergies.

A veterinary dermatologist may recommend advanced diagnostic tests, such as intradermal skin testing or allergen-specific immunotherapy, to identify the root cause of your dog’s allergies and develop a tailored treatment plan for long-term management.

Remember that addressing your dog’s allergies may require a multi-faceted approach, combining medical treatments like Cytopoint with dietary and environmental management strategies. Work closely with your veterinarian or a veterinary dermatologist to determine the best course of action to keep your furry friend healthy, comfortable, and itch-free.


In summary, Cytopoint is a non-steroidal treatment option for dogs suffering from allergies and atopic dermatitis. It offers targeted relief with fewer side effects compared to traditional steroid treatments and other alternatives such as Apoquel. If you think Cytopoint might be a good fit for your dog, be sure to discuss this option with your veterinarian to make an informed decision that prioritizes your dog’s health and well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cytopoint

How soon can I expect to see improvements in my dog’s itchiness after a Cytopoint injection?

Most dogs experience noticeable improvement in itch relief within 1 to 7 days after receiving a Cytopoint injection. However, the exact timeline may vary depending on the severity of your dog’s condition and individual response to the treatment.

How often will my dog need Cytopoint injections?

The duration of relief provided by a single Cytopoint injection can vary from 4 to 8 weeks. Your veterinarian will help determine the appropriate injection frequency based on your dog’s specific needs and response to the treatment.

Can Cytopoint be used in combination with other medications?

Cytopoint can be safely used alongside other allergy treatments, such as antihistamines and certain steroids, if needed. However, it is essential to discuss any medication combinations with your veterinarian to ensure your dog’s safety and avoid potential drug interactions.

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Are there any known contraindications or precautions for Cytopoint?

Cytopoint is generally considered safe for most dogs. However, it should not be used in dogs with a known hypersensitivity to the active ingredient (lokivetmab) or any of its excipients. Additionally, safety has not been established in pregnant, lactating, or breeding dogs.

Can Cytopoint help with secondary skin infections related to allergies?

While Cytopoint effectively targets itchiness caused by allergies, it does not directly treat secondary skin infections. Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics, antifungal medications, or topical treatments to address any infections resulting from excessive scratching.

How much does a Cytopoint injection cost?

The cost of a Cytopoint injection can vary depending on factors such as your location, the size of your dog, and the specific veterinary practice. It is typically more expensive than oral medications like Apoquel, but the longer-lasting relief it provides can offset the cost. Contact your veterinarian for a precise estimate based on your dog’s needs.

Can Cytopoint be used in dogs with other health conditions?

Cytopoint is generally considered safe for dogs with various health conditions, as it does not have the systemic effects that some other medications, such as steroids, may have. However, it is essential to discuss your dog’s medical history with your veterinarian before starting any new treatment to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your pet’s specific circumstances.

Is Cytopoint safe for long-term use?

Cytopoint has been studied and shown to be safe for long-term use in dogs with atopic dermatitis. Its targeted action and minimal impact on the immune system make it a favorable long-term option for many dogs with chronic allergies. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian are recommended to monitor your dog’s response to the treatment and adjust the frequency of injections as needed.

How is Cytopoint administered, and can I give the injection at home?

Cytopoint is administered via subcutaneous injection, typically given by a veterinarian during a scheduled appointment. While some experienced pet owners may be comfortable administering injections at home, it is generally recommended that Cytopoint injections be given by a veterinary professional to ensure proper dosage and administration technique.

What should I do if I notice side effects after my dog receives a Cytopoint injection?

While side effects from Cytopoint are generally rare and mild, it’s crucial to closely monitor your dog after receiving an injection. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, such as facial swelling, hives, difficulty breathing, or vomiting, contact your veterinarian immediately. For less severe side effects, such as mild lethargy or injection site irritation, consult your veterinarian to discuss any necessary adjustments to your dog’s treatment plan.

Can I switch my dog from another allergy medication to Cytopoint?

If your dog is currently taking another allergy medication, such as Apoquel or steroids, and you’re considering switching to Cytopoint, consult with your veterinarian. They can help determine whether Cytopoint is an appropriate option for your dog and guide you through the process of transitioning medications while minimizing potential side effects or complications.

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How does Cytopoint compare to other allergy medications like Apoquel?

Cytopoint and Apoquel are both effective allergy treatments that work in different ways. Cytopoint is an injectable monoclonal antibody that targets the itch-causing protein interleukin-31 (IL-31), while Apoquel is an oral medication that inhibits Janus kinase enzymes to reduce inflammation and itchiness. Cytopoint typically provides longer-lasting relief with injections needed every 4 to 8 weeks, whereas Apoquel is a daily oral medication. Your veterinarian can help determine which treatment option is best for your dog based on their specific needs and medical history.

Can Cytopoint help with hair loss caused by excessive scratching?

Cytopoint can indirectly help with hair loss caused by excessive scratching due to allergies. By reducing itchiness, Cytopoint may decrease the frequency and intensity of scratching, allowing the skin and hair to heal and regrow over time. However, it’s important to note that Cytopoint does not directly stimulate hair growth or treat underlying causes of hair loss unrelated to allergies.

Are there any potential drug interactions with Cytopoint?

Cytopoint has no known significant drug interactions. However, it is essential to inform your veterinarian about all medications, supplements, and over-the-counter products your dog is currently taking to ensure safe and effective treatment.

Can I give my dog over-the-counter allergy medications, like Benadryl, while they’re receiving Cytopoint injections?

While it’s generally safe to give your dog over-the-counter antihistamines, such as Benadryl, in conjunction with Cytopoint, it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian before starting any new medications. Your veterinarian can provide guidance on appropriate dosages and ensure that the combination of treatments is suitable for your dog’s specific needs.

How should I store Cytopoint at home?

If you’re administering Cytopoint injections at home, it’s important to store the medication properly. Cytopoint should be kept in the refrigerator at temperatures between 36°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C). It should not be frozen, and it should be protected from light. Always follow your veterinarian’s instructions for safe storage, handling, and disposal of the medication.

Is Cytopoint approved for use in cats or other pets?

Currently, Cytopoint is only approved for use in dogs. It has not been evaluated for safety or efficacy in cats or other animals. If your cat or another pet is experiencing allergies, consult your veterinarian for appropriate treatment options.

Can Cytopoint be used to treat seasonal allergies or year-round allergies?

Cytopoint can be effective in treating both seasonal and year-round allergies in dogs. Its ability to provide long-lasting itch relief makes it a flexible treatment option that can be tailored to your dog’s specific allergy patterns. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help monitor your dog’s response to the treatment and adjust the frequency of injections as needed based on their ongoing needs.

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