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Lufenuron (Program®)

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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  • Control of insect parasites, such as fleas, can be achieved by a number of approaches. One of the most novel methods is the use of insect growth regulators. These drugs arrest the development of insect parasites while demonstrating great safety when administered to animals.
  • Lufenuron belongs to a class of drugs known as insect development inhibitors/insect growth regulators.
  • Lufenuron inhibits insect development within the insect egg. This prevents the egg from maturing to an adult insect.
  • Lufenuron is most commonly administered for flea control in dogs and in cats. It does not control ticks.
  • Dogs and cats already affected with fleas, or those with flea-allergy dermatitis, first should be treated with an insecticide approved for that species.
  • Lufenuron is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in animals only.
  • Human formulations: None
  • Veterinary formulations: Program® (Novartis Animal Health)

    Uses of Lufenuron

  • Lufenuron is used to control flea populations affecting dogs and cats.
  • Lufenuron has been recently used by some veterinarians to treat Dermatophytosis, also known as ringworm. The efficacy is controversial and has not been advocated as a sole treatment for ringworm but as an adjunctive aid to other therapies.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, lufenuron can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Lufenuron should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Lufenuron may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with lufenuron.
  • Lufenuron is considered very safe and there are few precautions.
  • Adverse effects are few and include reports of vomiting, lethargy, itchy skin and diarrhea.

    How Lufenuron Is Supplied

  • Lufenuron is available in various size tablets and oral suspensions for dogs.
  • Lufenuron is also available in a 100 mg/ml injectable form for cats.
  • The injectable form is only approved for use in cats.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • In dogs, lufenuron is dosed at 5 mg per pound (10 mg/kg) once a month.
  • In cats, lufenuron is dosed at 15 mg per pound (30 mg/kg) once a month or 5 mg per pound (10 mg/kg) injectable every six months.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if you no longer see fleas, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse.
  • Note: This information is provided by veterinarians. For official prescribing information for this drug, read the article "Program®."

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