Felis ISSN 2398-2950


Synonym(s): Apoquel®

Contributor(s): David Godfrey, Linda Horspool, Charlie Walker



  • Oclacitinib.

Class of drug

  • Immunosuppressant. 
  • Agents for dermatitis, excluding corticosteroids. 
  • Synthetic Janus kinase (JAK) 1 inhibitor. 


Chemical name

  • N-methyl-1-[4-[methyl(7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidin-4-yl)amino]cyclohexyl] methanesulfonamide. 

Molecular formula

  • C19H27N5O6S

Molecular weight

  • 453.51

Physical properties

  • Film-coated tablets containing oclacitinib maleate. 
  • White to off-white, oblong shaped film-coated tablets with a score-line on both sides and marked with the letters "AQ" and "S", "M" or "L" on both sides, which refer to the different strengths of tablets: "S" 3.6 mg, "M" 5.4 mg, and "L" 16 mg tablets. 
  • The tablets can be divided into equal halves. 

Storage requirements

  • Shelf life as packaged for sale: 2 years. 
  • Store below 25°C. 
  • Any remaining half tablet should be placed back in the opened blister and stored in the original cardboard carton. 
  • Any remaining half tablets should be discarded after 3 days. 


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  • Treatment of pruritus associated with allergic dermatitis in cats (unlicensed) Skin: allergic contact dermatitis Skin: allergic disease overview
  • Head and neck pruritus, 10/15 cats improved (3/15 incompliant). 
  • Treatment of clinical manifestations of feline atopic-like dermatitis (unlicensed) Skin: atopic dermatitis
  • Non-flea, non-food-induced hypersensitive cats, ~0.5 mg/kg q12h, 5/12 cats improved. 
  • Non-flea, non-food-induced hypersensitive cats, ~0.9 mg/kg, 15/20 cats improved. 
  • Treatment of cutaneous mastocytosis Mastocytoma, 1 mg/kg q24h, n=1 case report.
  • Treatment of feline idiopathic ulcerative dermatitis, 1-1.5 mg/kg q24h, n=1 case report. 


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This article is available in full to registered subscribers

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This article is available in full to registered subscribers

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With other drugs

  • Cats: there have been no studies to determine any alteration in vaccinal response of cats having concurrent oclacitinib. 
  • There are no publications documenting interactions with concurrent drugs, but it seems pertinent to avoid combination treatment with other immunomodulatory drugs until further information is available.  
  • [Dogs: a reduced serological response to some vaccinations has been demonstrated in puppies administered high dose oclacitinib compared to untreated controls. The clinical relevance of these observed effects for vaccination of dogs on oclacitinib treatment is unclear]. 

Adverse Reactions

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Further Reading


Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from VetMed Resource and PubMed
  • Lopes N L, Campos D R, Machado M A et al (2019) A blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the safety of oclacitinib in cats. BMC Vet Res 15, 137 PubMed
  • Noli C, Matricoti I, Schievano C (2019) A double-blinded, randomized, methylprednisolone-controlled study on the efficacy of oclacitinib in the management of pruritus in cats with non-flea non-food-induced hypersensitivity dermatitis. Vet Dermatol 30, 110–e30 PubMed
  • Ortalda C, Noli C, Colombo S et al (2015) Oclacitinib in feline non-flea, non-food-induced hypersensitivity dermatitis: results of a small prospective pilot study of client-owned cats. Vet Dermatol 26, 235-e52 PubMed.
  • Collard W T, Hummel B D, Fielder A F, King V L, Boucher J F, Mullins M A, Malpas P B, Stegemann M R (2014) The pharmacokinetics of oclacitinib maleate, a Janus kinase inhibitor, in the dog. J Vet Pharmacol Ther 37(3), 279-285 PubMed.  
  • Gonzales A J, Bowman J W, Fici G J, Zhang M, Mann D W, Mitton-Fry M (2014) Oclacitinib (Apoquel®) is a novel Janus kinase inhibitor with activity against cytokines involved in allergy. J Vet Pharmacol Ther 37(4), 317-324 PubMed.
  • Cosgrove S B, Wren J A, Cleaver D M, Walsh K F, Follis S I, King V I, Tena J K, Stegemann M R (2013) A blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the efficacy and safety of the Janus kinase inhibitor oclacitinib (Apoquel®) in client-owned dogs with atopic dermatitis. Vet Dermatol 24(6), 587-597 PubMed.
  • Cosgrove S B, Wren J A, Cleaver D M, Martin D D, Walsh K F, Harfst J A, Follis S L, King V L, Boucher J F, Stegemann M R (2013) Efficacy and safety of oclacitinib for the control of pruritus and associated skin lesions in dogs with canine allergic dermatitis. Vet Dermatol 24(5), 479-e114 PubMed

Other sources of information

  • Pandolfi P, Beccati M (2016) Head and neck feline dermatitis: response to oclacitinib treatment. Vet Dermatol 27 (Supp 1), 58 (abstract).
  • Loft K E, Simon B (2015) Feline idiopathic ulcerative dermatosis treated successfully with oclacitinib. Vet Dermatol 26, 134 (abstract).
  • Frank R K, Galvan B A, Schoell R A et al (2014) The use of oclacitinib (Apoquel; Zoetis) for treatment of cutaneous mastocytosis in a cat. Vet Dermatol 25, 153 (abstract). 
  • Chang C H, Dodam J R, Cohn L A, Trzil J,  Liu H,  Reinero C R (2013) An experimental janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor suppresses eosinophilic airway inflammation in experimental feline asthma. ACVIM 2013
  • Fleck T, Aleo M, Galvan B et al  (2013) Oclacitinib reduces itch in a novel IL-31 induced pruritus model in the cat. In: Proceedings of the 18th American Academy of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics Biennial Symposium. Potomac, MD, USA. Available at: www.ivis.org