What is an active ingredient?

An active ingredient in a pharmaceutical or veterinary medicine is the chemical compound or substance that is biologically active. In a parasiticide the active ingredient is the substance that kills the parasites. The active ingredient is also called "active substance" or "active compound".

Besides the biologically active ingredient all veterinary parasiticides contain other biologically inactive or inert ingredients, also called excipients.

Altogether the active ingredients and the inert ingredients build the formulation. Each veterinary (or human) medicine or parasiticide has its own formulation, i.e. its own recipe or composition. For many products, not only the composition is important, but also the way and sequence the ingredients are mixed together during manufacturing.

Particular medicines or pesticides sometimes contain a mixture of different active ingredients. This is usually done to target more parasites species, i.e. to ensure a broader spectrum of activity.

The amount of active ingredient in a particular product varies a lot. It ranges between 1% or less (e.g. injectables with macrocyclic lactones) and more than 50% (e.g. some feed additives or some concentrates for spraying or dipping, etc).

The inert ingredients that can make up to 99% and more of the finished product, are often not only just passive ingredients (e.g. water as solvent in a liquid product, or a cellulose derivative as binder in a tablet), but accomplish several functions that can be essential for product efficacy, safety and quality. Such inert ingredients can be e.g.

  • Dispersants: keep particles suspended and prevent their settling or clogging.
  • Emulsifiers: encourage the suspension of one liquid in another one (e.g. oil in water).
  • Stabilizers: prevent chemical reactions between the ingredients.
  • Preservatives: prevent the growth of undesired microorganisms in the product.
  • etc.

Inert ingredients can also have a significant influence on whether a finished parasiticide is flammable, explosive, corrosive, irritant to the eyes or the skin, etc.


Naming of Active Ingredients

Active ingredients are mostly refered to with their "common name". It is useful to know (especially when searching information in the web) that all active ingredients have also an official "chemical name", which itself varies according to several international bodies. Just one example:

  • Common name: cypermethrin
  • Chemical name: according to IUPAC: (RS)-alpha-cyano-3-phenoxybenzyl (1RS) cis-trans-3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethyl-cyclopropane carboxylate
  • Chemical name: according to CAS: (RS)-cyano (3-phenoxyphenyl) methyl (1RS) - cis-trans-3-(2,2-dichloroethenyl)-2,2-dimethyl-cyclopropane carboxylate
  • Other chemical names: (according to www.pesticideinfo.org) 02171 (CA DPR Chem Code Text) , 02171 (CA DPR Chem Code) , 109704 (US EPA PC Code Text) , 109704 (US EPA PC Code) , 2171 (CA DPR Chem Code) , 2171 (CA DPR Chem Code) , 52315-07-8 (CAS number) , 52315078 (CAS number without hyphens) , 597 (PDP Code) , 66841-24-5 (CAS number) , 66841245 , 66841245 (CAS number without hyphens) , Cipermetrin , Cipermetrina , Cyclopropanecarboxylic acid, 3-(2,2-dichloroethenyl)-2,2-dimethyl-, (R)-cyano(3-phenoxyphenyl)methyl ester, (1R, 3S)- , Cyclopropanecarboxylic acid, 3-(2,2-dichloroethenyl)-2,2-dimethyl-, cyano(3-phenoxyphenyl)methyl ester , Cyclopropanecarboxylic acid, 3-(2,2-dichloroethenyl)-2,2-dimethyl-, cyano(3-phenoxyphenyl)methyl ester, 1R-1alpha(R*),3beta- , cypermethin , Cypermethrin, Cypermethrine , d-trans-.beta.Cypermethrin

In most brands, the product labels indicate the content of active ingredient using the "common name". However, there are some smart manufacturers that don't use the "common name" in the product label but one of the numberless "chemical names". Maybe it's their way of implementing the number 4 marketing rule: "be different". Rule numbers 1 to 3 "be new", "be superior" and "be unique" are quite hard to achieve with generic active ingredients, which is what >95% of the antiparasitic brands contain.


Active ingredients with parasiticidal efficacy for veterinary use

This section of parasitipedia.net includes TECHNICAL DATASHEETS of the active ingredients most widely used in veterinary antiparasitics, i.e. against external parasites (e.g. flies, fleas, ticks, mites, etc.) and/or parasitic worms (roundworms, tapeworms, flukes) of livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, pig, poultry) and pets (dogs and cats).

You can select a particular active ingredient in the table below or in the corresponding menu.

LEGEND. (1) Ecto = insects, ticks, mites, etc.; Endo = roundworms, tapeworms, flukes • (2) L=Livestock; P=Pets (C=Crop Protection; Hy=Domestic and Public Hygiene; H=Human; ) • (3) Decade + Company that introduced it.

Name

Chemical class

Spectrum (1)

Usage (2)

Introduced by (3)

Abamectin Macrocyclic Lactone Ecto  +  Endo L, P (C, Hy) 1980s Am. Cyanamid, Shell
Afoxolaner Isoxazoline Ecto P 2010s Merial (Du Pont)
Albendazole Benzimidazole Endo L, P (H 1970s Smith-Kline 
Alphamethrin Synthetic Pyrethroid Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1980s ?
Amitraz Amidine Ecto  L, P (C 1970s Boots & Co, Camco 
Azadirachtin Natural compound Ecto  +  Endo L, P (C, Hy, H) Various
Azamethiphos Organophosphate Ecto L 1970s Ciba-Geigy
Carbaryl Organophosphate Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1950s Union Carbide
Carvacrol Natural compound Ecto L, P (C, Hy, H) Various
Chlorfenvinphos Organophosphate Ecto L, P (C) 1970s Ciba-Geigy, Shell
Chlorpyrifos Organophosphate Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1970s Dow Chemical
Citronellal Natural compound Ecto L, P (C, Hy, H) Various
Clorsulon Sulphonamide Ecto  +  Endo L 1970s MS&D Agvet
Closantel Salicylanilides Ecto  +  Endo L 1970s Janssen
Coumaphos Organophosphate Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1950s Bayer
Cyfluthrin Synthetic Pyrethroid Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1980s Bayer
Cyhalothrin Synthetic Pyrethroid Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1980s ICI
Cymiazol Amidine Ecto L 1970s Ciba-Geigy
Cypermethrin  Synthetic Pyrethroid  Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1970s Ciba-Geigy, ICI, Shell
Cyphenothrin Synthetic Pyrethroid Ecto P (C, Hy) 1980s Sumitomo
Cyromazine  Development Inhibitor Ecto L (C, Hy) 1970s Ciba-Geigy
D-limonene Natural compound Ecto L, P (C, Hy, H) Various
Dichlorophen Phenol derivative Endo P ?
DDVP =Diclorvos Organophosphate Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1960s Bayer, Ciba-Geigy, Shell
Deltamethrin Synthetic Pyrethroid Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1970s Roussel Uclaf
Diazinon = Dimpylate Organophosphate Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1950s Ciba-Geigy
Derquantel Spiroindole Endo L 2010s Zoetis
Dichlorvos =DDVP Organophosphate  Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1960s Bayer, Ciba-Geigy, Shell
Dicyclanil Development Inhibitor Ecto L 1990s Novartis
Diflubenzuron Development Inhibitor Ecto L (C, Hy) 1970s Philips-Duphar
Dinotefuran Neonicotinoid Ecto P (C, Hy) 1990s Mitsui
Doramectin Macrocyclic Lactone Ecto Endo L 1990s Pfizer
Dimpylate =Diazinon Organophosphate Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1950s Ciba-Geigy
Emodepside Depsipeptide Endo P 1990s Bayer
Eprinomectin Macrocyclic Lactone Ecto Endo L  1990s MS&D Agvet
Epsiprantel Isoquinoline Endo P  1990s Pfizer
Ethion Organophosphate Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1950s FMC
Etofenprox Synthetic Pyrethroid Ecto P (C, Hy) 1980s Mitsui
Eucalyptol Natural compound Ecto L, P (C, Hy, H) Various
Eugenol Natural compound Ecto L, P (C, Hy, H) Various
Febantel Pro-Benzimidazole Endo L, P 1970s Bayer
Fenbendazole Benzimidazole Endo L, P  1970s Hoechst
Fenitrothion Organophosphate Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1960s Bayer, Sumitomo
Fenthion Organophosphate Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1960s Bayer
Fenvalerate Synthetic Pyrethroid Ecto L (C, Hy) 1970s Shell, Sumitomo
Fipronil Phenylpyrazole Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1990s Rhône-Mérieux
Fluazuron Development Inhibitor  Ecto L 1990s Novartis
Flubendazole Benzimidazole  Endo L, P (H 1970s Janssen
Flumethrin Synthetic Pyrethroid Ecto L, P 1970s Bayer
Fluralaner Isoxazoline Ecto P 2010s MSD AH (Nissan)
Geraniol Natural compound Ecto L, P (C, Hy, H) Various
Imidacloprid  Neonicotinoid  Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1990s Bayer
Indoxacarb Oxadiazine Ecto P (C, Hy) 2000s DuPont
Ivermectin  Macr. Lactone  Ecto  +  Endo L, P (C, Hy, H) 1980s MS&D Agvet
Levamisole Imidazothiazole Endo L, P (H 1960s Janssen
Linalool Natural compound Ecto L, P (C, Hy, H) Various
Lindane Organochlorine Ecto P (C, Hy) 1940s ICI
Lufenuron Development Inhibitor Ecto P (C) 1990s Ciba-Geigy
Malathion Organophosphate Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1950s Am. Cyanamid 
Mebendazole Benzimidazole Endo L, P (H)   1970s Janssen
Metaflumizone Semicarbazone Ecto  P (C, Hy) 2000s BASF
Methomyl Carbamate Ecto (C, Hy) 1970s Du Pont
Methoprene Development Inhibitor Ecto L, P (C, Hy) 1970s Zoecon
Metrifonate =Triclorphon Organophosphate Ecto  +  Endo L, P (C, Hy) 1960s Bayer
Milbemycin oxime Macrocyclic Lactone Ecto  +  Endo P 1990s Ciba-Geigy
Monepantel Amino-acetonitrile der. Endo L  2000s Novartis
Morantel Tetra-hydropyrimidine Endo L, P 1960s Pfizer
Moxidectin Macrocyclic Lactone Ecto  +  Endo L, P 1990s Am. Cyanamid
Netobimin Pro-Benzimidazole Endo L 1980s Shering Plough
Niclosamide Salicylanilide Endo L, P (H 1960s Bayer
Nitenpyram Neonicotinoid Ecto  P (C 1990s Takeda, Novartis
Nitroscanate  Isothiocyanate  Endo P 1970s Ciba-Geigy
Nitroxinil Halogenated phenol Endo L 1960s May & Baker
Oxantel Tetra-hydropyrimidine Endo P (H) 1970s Pfizer
Oxfendazole Benzimidazole Endo L, P (H 1970s Wellcome, Syntex
Oxibendazole Benzimidazole Endo L, P 1970s Smith Kline
Oxyclozanide Salicylanilide Endo L 1960s ICI
Permethrin Synthetic Pyrethroid Ecto L, P (C, Hy, H) 1970s FMC, ICI, Shell, Sumit.
Phenothrin Synthetic Pyrethroid Ecto  P (C, Hy, H 1980s Sumitomo
Phosmet Organophosphate  Ecto  L (C)   1960s Stauffer
Phoxim  Organophosphate   Ecto   L (C 1960s Bayer
Piperazine Piperazine derivative Endo L, P (H) 1950s Shering
Praziquantel Isoquinoline Endo L, P 1970s Bayer
Propoxur  Carbamate  Ecto  L, P (C, Hy) 1960s Bayer 
Pyrantel Tetra-hydropyrimidine Endo L, P (H 1960s Pfizer
Pyrethrins Natural compounds Ecto  L, P (C, Hy, H) Various
Pyriprole Phenylpyrazole Ecto P 2000s Novartis
Pyriproxyfen Development Inhibitor Ecto (C, Hy) 1980s Sumitomo
Rafoxanide Salicylanilide  Endo L 1970s MS&D Agvet
Ricobendazole Benzimidazole   Endo L, P 1980s Robert Young
Rotenone Natural insecticide Ecto L, P (C, Hy) ~1900 Traditional
Sarolaner Isoxazoline Ecto P 2010s Zoetis
Selamectin Macrocyclic Lactone Ecto  +  Endo P 1990s Pfizer
Spinetoram  Spinosyns  Ecto  P (C) 2000s Dow
Spinosad Spinosyns   Ecto  L, P (C, Hy, H) 1990s Eli-Lilly
Tetramethrin  Synthetic Pyrethroid Ecto   P (C, Hy) 1960s Sumitomo
Tetramisole Imidazothiazole  Endo L, P 1960s Janssen
Thiabendazole Benzimidazole  Endo L, P (C 1960s MS&D Agvet
Thiamethoxam  Neonicotinoid   Ecto  L (C, Hy) 1990s Novartis
Thiophanate Pro-Benzimidazole  Endo L (C 1970s May & Baker
Thymol Natural compound Ecto L, P (C, Hy, H) Various
Trichlorfon = Metrifonate Organophosphate Ecto  +  Endo L, P (C, Hy) 1960s Bayer
Triclabendazole Benzimidazole  Endo L (H) 1970s Ciba-Geigy
Triflumuron Development Inhibitor Ecto L (C, Hy) 1980s Bayer

LEGEND. (1) Ecto = insects, ticks, mites, etc.; Endo = roundworms, tapeworms, flukes • (2) L=Livestock; P=Pets (C=Crop protection; Hy=Domestic and Public Hygiene; H=Human) • (3) Decade + Company that introduced it.

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