Nitenpyram (Capstar®) for Dogs and Cats


Overview of Nitenpyram (Capstar®) for Dogs and Cats

  • Nitenpyram, commonly known by the brand name Capstar®, is used to treat adult flea problems on dogs and cats.
  • Fleas are a common parasite of dogs and cats. Flea infestatons account for a number of skin problems in house pets including annoying flea bites, itching and flea allergy dermatitis. Fleas also spread one of the more common tapeworms that affect dogs and cats (Dipylidium caninum). Severe flea infestations in puppies and kittens can lead to blood loss anemia.
  • Control of fleas and flea-related disorders requires a program that kills adult fleas, prevents re-infestation of the pet and controls the flea population in the environment and on other dogs and cats in the household.
  • Nitenpyram (CAPSTAR®) is a new oral treatment that effectively kills adult fleas. Nitenpyram belongs to the chemical class of drugs called neonicotinoids. Nitenpyram interferes with nerve transmission in the flea, but not the pet. This kills adult fleas rapidly. CAPSTAR® brand of nitenpyram begins working within 30 minutes and in studies, CAPSTAR® achieved greater than 90 percent effectiveness against adult fleas on dogs within four hours and cats within six hours of administration.
  • If necessary, the drug can be used repeatedly, following label instructions, should adult fleas from the environment re-infest the dog or cat.
  • Nitenpyram does not kill immature fleas, larvae or eggs on the pet or in the environment. Control of immature stages of the flea can be attained using an insect growth regulator such as lufenuron (Program® Flavor Tabs).
  • Nitenpyram does not kill ticks.
  • Nitenpyram has a very good safety profile and is safe for use in dogs, cats, puppies and kittens four weeks of age and older and two pounds of body weight or greater. The drug can also be used in pregnant or nursing dogs and cats.
  • Nitenpyram is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • Brand Names and Other Names of Nitenpyram

  • This drug is registered for use in animals only.
  • Human formulations: None
  • Veterinary formulations: CAPSTAR® (Novartis Animal Health)
  • Uses of Nitenpyram for Dogs and Cats

  • Nitenpyram is indicated for the treatment of flea infestations in puppies, dogs, kittens, and cats. For more information on flea infestations, please see also Flea Infestation in Cats and/or Flea Infestation in Dogs.  Nitenpyram is not effective for treating flea eggs and other immature flea life forms. 
  • Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, nitenpyram can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Nitenpyram should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Side effects are uncommon but have been reported in dogs and cats. Adverse effects are more common in pets under 8 weeks of age, dogs and cats in poor body condition and under 2 pounds in weight. Side effects may include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, incoordination, hyperactivity, trembling, seizures, anxiety, panting, itching and hypervocalization. 
  • Following administration, the treated dog or cat is likely to begin scratching as fleas begin to die. This behavior is temporary and is a reaction to the fleas, not the drug.
  • How Nitenpyram Is Supplied

  • CAPSTAR® brand of nitenpyram is supplied in 11.4 mg and 57.0 mg tablets.
  • Dosing Information of Nitenpyram for Dogs and Cats

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • A dog or cat weighing between 2 and 25 pounds is treated with one 11.4 mg tablet.
  • A dog weighing between 25.1 and 125 pounds is treated with one 57.0 mg tablet.
  • CAPSTAR® tablets may be used as often as once per day when adult fleas are observed on a pet.
  • It is essential to treat all infested pets in the household since fleas reproduce on untreated pets.
  • CAPSTAR® tablets can be administered with other drugs or products, including, corticosteroids, antibiotics and vaccines. It is also safe to use with deworming medications, heartworm preventives, shampoos and other flea control products.
  • Note: This information is provided by veterinarians. For official prescribing information for this drug, see the article on CAPSTAR in the drug library.
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    Dermatology & Integumentary diseases


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