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Vet Surg. 1998 Jan-Feb;27(1):64-8.

Effect of ketoconazole on cyclosporine dose in healthy dogs.

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Animal Resources Facility, University of California, Davis, USA.



To determine the degree to which the dose of oral cyclosporine (CyA), in healthy dogs, can be decreased by concurrent oral administration of ketoconazole. Dogs in this study were observed for physical or biochemical side effects that might have been caused by the administration of CyA and ketoconazole.


Prospective research study.


Five healthy, intact female Beagle dogs.


CyA was administered orally twice daily to achieve stable whole blood trough levels of 400 to 600 ng/mL. Ketoconazole was added at a low therapeutic dose (average dose: 13.6 mg/kg/d) then at a subtherapeutic dose (average dose: 4.7 mg/kg/d). CyA whole blood trough levels were monitored every 3 to 4 days and maintained at 400 to 600 ng/mL by adjusting CyA doses accordingly. Physical examination, CBC, biochemical profile, and urinalysis were performed at 2-week intervals throughout the study period.


The initial mean dose of CyA required to achieve target blood levels was 14.5 mg/ kg/d. With concurrent ketoconazole (low therapeutic dose, average dose: 13.6 mg/kg/d) and CyA administration, the CyA dose declined to 3.4 mg/kg/day (range: 1.2 to 5.2 mg/kg/d), representing a 75% reduction in CyA dose and monetary savings of 57.8%. At a subtherapeutic dose of ketoconazole (average dose: 4.7 mg/kg/d), combination therapy resulted in a CyA dose of 10.1 mg/kg/day (4.9 to 10.6 mg/kg/d), representing a 38% reduction in CyA dose and monetary savings of 23.8%. Weight loss and transient hypoalbuminemia of unknown clinical significance were observed. Other physical and biochemical evaluations were unremarkable over the 12-week study period.


The oral administration of ketoconazole can be used to reduce substantially the oral CyA dose needed to maintain selected blood levels in healthy dogs.


The oral administration of ketoconazole can result in substantial cost savings to owners of dogs receiving CyA after renal allograft transplantation or for the treatment of autoimmune disease.

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