Mar Vista Animal Medical Center

3850 Grand View Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066

(310)391-6741

www.marvistavet.com

LUFENURON

(for veterinary information only)

 

BRAND NAME: PROGRAM and included in SENTINEL

 

AVAILABLE IN
45 mg, 90 mg, 204.9 mg, & 409.8 mg
TABLETS.
ALSO AVAILABLE AS
INJECTABLE for CATS
and is included in
SENTINEL HEARTWORM
PREVENTATIVE for DOGS

 

BACKGROUND

The U.S. market had been long in search of a flea product that was safe, convenient, and effective and many companies were racing to bring out their new product first. Ciba Animal Health (now renamed Novartis Animal Health) won this battle in 1995 with the approval of lufenuron for use in U.S. pets. Their product had already been in use for 5 years in some 35 other countries and the U.S. welcomed this product with open arms. This medication was first licensed as a prescription drug, meaning that an animal had to have a legal patient/doctor relationship with the veterinarian in order to obtain it; however, in January of 1997, lufenuron gained over-the-counter status. In April 1998, an injectable form became available for cats.

Novartis Animal Health feels strongly that in order to use lufenuron effectively some understanding of how it works is needed, thus they will only distribute their product through licensed veterinarians so that proper education to pet owners can be provided. Lufenuron does not kill fleas so unless one understands how this product works, one may be dissatisfied if expected results are not realized. In Sentinel® and Sentinel Spectrum®, lufenuron is combined with milbemcyin, a heartworm preventive and broad spectrum dewormer. These products are available by prescription only.

 

HOW THIS MEDICATION WORKS

Insects are protected in the world by a hard exoskeleton made of a material called chitin. Lufenuron inhibits the production of chitin in insects.

By the time a flea has reached adulthood and is taking blood meals from a pet, it has made all the chitin it needs and is not directly affected by the lufenuron it is drinking in the pet's blood. The female flea, however, is largely drinking blood to support egg-laying (up to 40 eggs daily) and the larvae developing inside these eggs must make chitin in order to chip their way out of the egg. If the mother flea has passed along a healthy dose of lufenuron to her eggs, they will not be able to hatch.

Adult fleas feeding on a pet will be continually producing the black specks of digested blood called flea dirt. This material is highly nutritious for larvae developing in the environment but if this flea dirt is packed with lufenuron, the larvae will not be able to grow normal exoskeletons and they will die.

The injectable formula for cats was designed as an alternative to the relatively unpopular and now discontinued oral liquid. Like the oral product, injectable lufenuron is stored in body fat. One injection is effective for 6 months.

Fleas are not the only organisms to contain chitin. Apparently some fungi also are affected by lufenuron. An "anti-ringworm" dose, which is much higher than the flea preventive dose, has been published to aid in the treatment of dermatophytosis (more commonly known as "ringworm.") The efficacy of lufenuron for fungal diseases has not panned out, however, and this unapproved use of lufenuron should be considered as only an adjunct to more traditional therapies, if at all. Lufenuron should not be used as a sole therapy for ringworm. As for other fungi, lufenuron use seems cost prohibitive but may be of benefit as adjunctive therapy.

 

Electron Micrograph of a flea
(Photo Credit: CDC Public Health Image Library)

SIDE EFFECTS

Oral lufenuron must be given on a full stomach in order to be properly absorbed into the body.

Since lufenuron works on enzymes systems that are unique to insects, no other side effects have been reported even in animals fed hundreds of times the recommended dose.

 

INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER DRUGS

Program does not interact with other medications. Program is therefore compatible with all other treatments.

It is important to note that with the advent of popular top-spot and oral treatments for fleas, special attention should be paid to the development of resistance to these products. Experience with other insects tells us that resistance can develop in 12 to 15 generations. In order to preserve these new insecticides, it is important to consider what is called integrated pest management. What this means is that insecticides should be rotated or combined with insect development inhibitors such as lufenuron or insect growth regulators like methoprene. Fleas that are resistant to the top-spot treatments must not be allowed to pass on their genes for resistance. Lufenuron may be used in combination with any of the popular effective topicals or oral products to achieve this end.

To see a comparison of popular effective topical flea products click here.

 

CONCERNS AND CAUTIONS

In order for lufenuron to work, fleas must bite the pet, potentially a problem for the flea allergic pet. For pets with flea bite allergy, lufenuron would best be combined with a product that actually kills fleas. There is at present no flea product that can kill fleas before they bite.

Oral lufenuron must be given on a full stomach. Each oral dose lasts 30 days.

Kittens must be at least 6 weeks of age and puppies must be at least 4 weeks of age to begin taking lufenuron. 

Page last updated: 10/1/2015