Brand: PROGRAM ® TABLETS

Company: ELANCO (NOVARTIS)


FORMULATION: «tablets» for oral administration; may be flavored, coated, etc. depending on the country.

ACTIVE INGREDIENT(S): LUFENURON

CHEMICAL CLASS of the active ingredient(s): BENZOYLPHENYL UREA


INDICATIONS: DOGS and CATS

PARASITES CONTROLLED* (spectrum of activity): Fleas


RECOMMENDED DOSE*:

USA, Canada and other countries

  • Dogs, small ≤10 lbs. 4.5 kg bw: 1 tablet with 45 mg lufenuron (equivalent to >10.1 mg/kg lufenuron)
  • Dogs, medium 11 to 20 lbs.4.6 to 9.07 kg bw: 1 tablet with 90 mg lufenuron (equivalent to 19.6 - 9.9 mg/kg lufenuron)
  • Dogs, large 21 to 45 lbs. ≈>9.08 to 20.4 kg bw:  1 tablet with 204.9 mg lufenuron (equivalent to 22.6 - 10.1 mg/kg lufenuron)
  • Dogs, very large 46 to 90 lbs =20.5 to 40.8 kg bw: 1 tablet with 409.8 mg lufenuron (equivalent to 20.0 - 10.1 mg/kg lufenuron)
  • Cats, small 10 lbs. = 4.5 kg bw: 1 tablet with 135 mg lufenuron (equivalent to >30.0 mg/kg lufenuron)
  • Cats, large, 11 to 20 lbs. = 4.6 to 9 kg bw: 1 tablet with 270 mg lufenuron (equivalent to 58.6 to 30 mg/kg lufenuron)

European Union and other countries

  • Dogs, small 2.3 to 6.7 kg = 6 to 14.7 lbs. bw: 1 tablet with 67.8 mg lufenuron (equivalent to 29.5 - 10.1 mg/kg lufenuron)
  • Dogs, medium >6.70 to 20 kg ≈>14.7 to 44 lbs. bw: 1 tablet with 204.9 mg lufenuron (equivalent to 30.1 - 10.2 mg/kg lufenuron)
  • Dogs, large >20 to 40 kg ≈>44 to 88 lbs. bw:  1 tablet with 409 mg lufenuron (equivalent to 20.3 - 10.2 mg/kg lufenuron)
  • Dogs, very large >40 kg =>88 lbs. bw: appropriate combination of tablets

* Can be slightly different in some countries: read the product label!


SAFETY

  • LD50 (acute oral) in rats: >2000 mg/kg for the a.i. lufenuron
  • Estimated Hazard Class according to the WHO: not applicable for veterinary medicines

Suspected poisoning? Read the article on lufenuron safety in this site.

WARNING !!!: Never use on cats tablets approved only for dogs. Never use on small dogs tablets approved for large dogs. Learn more about tablets and their safety.

You may be interested in the following articles in this site dealing with the general safety of veterinary products:


RESISTANCE PREVENTION

Risk of resistance? YES, low in:

  • fleas, mainly the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis

So far there are no reports on flea resistance to lufenuron, 25 years after its introduction for flea control. However, fleas have developed resistance to several other insecticides (e.g. carbamates, organophosphates and pyrethroids) and are certainly capable of becoming resistant to lufenuron as well. Experience shows that prolonged and uninterrupted use of any insecticide on fleas (including lufenuron) bears the risk of resistance development.

Alternatives to prevent resistance through product rotation:

*F = effective against fleas; T = effective against ticks.

These alternative products may not be available in all countries, or may not be available as tablets.

Resistance of fleas to carbamates, organophosphates and pyrethroids is not uncommon in several countries, including the USA.

Learn more about resistance and how it develops.


MARKETING

Are the active ingredients of this product ORIGINAL* or GENERICS**?

  • Lufenuron: GENERIC (introduced in the 1990s)

*Meaning that they are still patent protected and generics are not yet available
**Meaning that they have lost patent protection and may be acquired from manufacturers of generic active ingredients other than the holder of the original patent.

COUNTRIES where this product is marketed: Worldwide, including the USA, the EU, Canada, Australia, etc.
GENERIC BRANDS available? YES; but rather few and not in all countries.

Click here to learn more about GENERIC vs. ORIGINAL drugs.


COMMENTS

PROGRAM is the first and original brand with lufenuron, which was the first once-a-month tablet for flea prevention in dogs introduced in the early 1990s. It was very successful until the subsequent introduction of the once-a-month spot-ons that now dominate this market (Frontline, Advantage, etc.).

Lufenuron is an insect Insect Development Inhibitor (= IGR = Insect Growth Regulator) belonging to the benzoylphenyl ureas introduced in the late 1980s (by CIBA-GEIGY  → NOVARTIS →  ELANCO). It is moderately used in pets and agriculture, but so far not in livestock.

Lufenuron has a systemic mode of action, i.e. after oral administration it get's into the blood of the pet and reaches the fleas during their blood meal.

Administered about every 4 weeks it prevents flea infestations by inhibiting the development of eggs and larvae, but only if all the dogs and cats in the same household are treated against fleas. However, since it does not kill adult fleas, it is not suitable for treating established flea infestations. For this reason in some countries (e.g. the USA) PROGRAM tablets are sold together with CAPSTAR tablets that kills adult fleas extremely quickly.

In any case best results are obtained with PROGRAM when administered preventatively starting before the onset of the flea season.

In some countries, lufenuron for use on cats is not avaiilable as tablets but only a oral suspensions orinjectables

Systemic products (tablets for oral administration, injectables) have several general advantages over topical products (spot-on, insecticide-impregnated collars, shampoos, soaps, sprays, powders, etc):

  • They do not contaminate the pet's hair coat: avoiding contact with the pets after administration is not necessary for children or adults.
  • The active ingredient reaches the parasites through the blood, everywhere in the pet's body, whereas topical products may leave some body parts (e.g. the ears, between the legs, etc.) insufficiently protected.
  • Efficacy is independent from exposure to dirt, sun, shampooing, washings, rain, baths, etc., whereas topical products can be washed away, or broken down by sunlight, etc.

But they have also a few disadvantages:

  • The parasite has to bite and suck blood first before it is killed or sterilized.
  • Orally administered products (tablets, suspensions, pastes, etc.) may be vomited and treatment needs to be repeated.
  • Administration of tablets may be less convenient than administration of spot-ons.
  • The choice of products for oral or injectable administration is smaller than for topical administration.

For an overview and a list of the most popular pet antiparasitics for flea, tick, lice and/or mite control click here.


A personal message

I was very heavily involved in the discovery of lufenuron in the 1990s during my years in NOVARTIS AH. Click here if you want to know more about the discovery and development of lufenuron and PROGRAM.


DISCLAIMER

This article IS NOT A PRODUCT LABEL. It offers complementary information that may be useful to veterinary professionals and users that are not familiar with veterinary antiparasitics. 

Information offered in this article has been extracted from publications issued by manufacturers, government agencies (e.g. EMEA, FDA, USDA, etc.) or in the scientific literature. No guarantee is given on its accuracy, integrity, sufficiency, actuality and opportunity, and any liability is denied. Read the site's DISCLAIMER.

In case of doubt contact the manufacturer or a veterinary professional.

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