Zoetis has announced the European launch of Apoquel (oclacitinib maleate), a novel therapy indicated for the treatment of pruritus (itching) associated with canine allergic dermatitis and the clinical manifestations of atopic dermatitis. 

Apoquel is the first Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitor approved for veterinary use. It provides rapid and sustained relief of pruritus, improves skin lesions, and is suitable for short or long-term treatment.
Canine pruritus is among the most frequent complaints of pet owners, affecting about one in six dogs whose owners seek veterinary help. About half of all itchy dogs will have an underlying allergic skin condition for which Apoquel would be indicated.
According to Zoetis, Apoquel has a “unique and innovative mode of action”, as it targets specific pathways of pruritus (itch) and inflammation, which makes it different to glucocorticoids. It is less likely to cause unwanted side-effects and also acts rapidly (demonstrating anti-pruritic efficacy within four hours) to reduce the itch. 
Dr Michael Stegemann, senior director of veterinary research and development at Zoetis, said: “Apoquel is the culmination of more than a decade of dedication and ingenuity from Zoetis colleagues. We have been driven by our deep understanding of customers’ unmet needs, and our determination that we can make a difference to the quality of life of pets and their caregivers. Apoquel, in my mind, epitomises why we exist: to apply our expertise in science and innovation, and deliver solutions to our customers.”
Apoquel will be available on prescription by a veterinarian only. Apoquel tablets, dosed at 0.4-0.6 mg/kg, are administered orally, twice daily for up to 14 days, and then administered once daily for maintenance therapy if medium to long-term treatment is required, such as in dogs with seasonal skin allergy and atopic dermatitis.

During treatment with Apoquel, diagnosis and management of the underlying causes of the allergic dermatitis should be implemented as well. No drug interactions were observed in field studies when Apoquel was administered with other medications including antibiotics, parasiticides and anti-inflammatories commonly used in dogs with skin diseases.  

Apoquel is now available for veterinarians in UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and will be available in other European countries in the coming weeks.
In clinical trials, Apoquel demonstrated a good safety profile and efficacy for the treatment of pruritus and resulted in improved skin lesions in dogs diagnosed with a number of allergic skin diseases as well as atopic dermatitis and treated either short or long term. The decrease in itch scores was observed by pet owners within 24 hours of  administration, and pruritus continued to decrease compared to baseline until the end of the study. Skin lesions scores assessed by veterinarians were significantly improved after one week and continued to improve long term during the studies (four months). 
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