Brand: LEVACUR ® SC 3% Oral Solution
Company: MSD (MERCK) ANIMAL HEALTH
- contains 0.32 mg/mL elemental Selenium plus 0.72 mg/mL elemental Cobalt as nutritional supplements, without anthelmintic efficacy.
INDICATIONS: CATTLE & SHEEP
PARASITES CONTROLLED* (spectrum of activity)
* Country-specific differences may apply: read the product label.
Not effective against Type II winter scour.
* Country-specific differences may apply: read the product label.
- Cattle & Sheep: 2.5 mL product/10 kg bw (equivalent to 7.5 mg of levamisole/kg).
- LD50 (acute oral) in rats: 180 mg/kg (for the a.i.)
- LD50 (acute dermal) in rats: n.a.
Suspected poisoning? Read the article on levamisole safety in this site.
Withholding periods (=withdrawal times) for meat & milk (country-specific differences may apply: read the product label)
- Meat: UK: 20 days
- Milk for human consumption: UK: not be used in animals producing milk for human consumption.
WARNING !!!: Never use on humans, dogs and cats
You may be interested in the following articles in this site dealing with the general safety of veterinary products:
- Safety for humans
- Safety for domestic animals
- Safety for the environment
- Hazard classifications of pesticides
Risk of resistance? YES, resistance of gastrointestinal roundworms to levamisole in ruminants is a serious and increasing problem, particularly in sheep and goats, but also in cattle. Levamisole resistance is usually less strong and widespread than resistance to benzimidazoles, but nevertheless a serious problem. The most affected worm species are:
- Sheep & goats: Haemonchus spp, Ostertagia spp /Teladorsagia spp, Trichostrongylus spp, Nematodirus spp, Chabertia ovina.
- Cattle: Cooperia spp, Haemonchus spp, Ostertagia spp, Trichostrongylus spp, Oesophagostomum spp.
This means that if this product does not achieve the expected efficacy against the mentioned parasites, it can be due to resistance and not to incorrect use, which is usually the most frequent cause of product failure.
- Benzimidazoles, e.g. albendazole, febantel, fenbendazole, oxfendazole, etc. Even worse resistance problems than levamisole.
- Macrocyclic lactones (e.g. abamectin, doramectin, eprinomectin, ivermectin, moxidectin, etc.). Resistance to macrocyclic lactones is also increasing and strengthening quickly in many countries.
- Monepantel: available only for sheep & goats in some countries (e.g. Australia, UK & EU, New Zealand). First cases of resistance reported in New Zealand in 2013.
- Salicylanilides (e.g. closantel): effective only against certain gastrointestinal roundworms. Not available in some countries. Resistance to closantel has been reported in some countries.
- Tetrahydropyrimidines (e.g. morantel, pyrantel): effective only against certain gastrointestinal roundworms. Not available in some countries. Resistance to morantel has been reported in some countries.
- Nitroxinil: effective only against certain gastrointestinal roundworms (e.g. Bunostomum spp, Haemonchus spp, Oesophagostomum spp). Not available in some countries.
These alternative products may not be available in all countries, or may not be available as drenches, or may not be effective against all the concerned parasites.
It is highly recommended to periodically check the resistance status of each property performing appropriate tests (e.g. fecal egg counts) under supervision of a veterinary doctor. Such tests are now routinely available for most producers in developed countries.
Are the active ingredients of this product ORIGINAL* or GENERICS**?
*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 brand/product is marketed: UK and other EU countries.
GENERIC BRANDS available? Yes, in most countries
Click here to learn more about GENERIC vs. ORIGINAL drugs.
For an overview on the most used drench brands for livestock click here.
LEVACUR is a local brand from MSD ANIMAL HEALTH containing generic levamisole.
Levamisole is a veteran anthelmintic. It was introduced by JANSSEN already in the 1960s (NILVERM, RIPERCOL). It has a broad-spectrum of activity against roundworms (gastrointestinal and pulmonary) but no efficacy whatsoever against tapeworms and flukes. It is also completely ineffective against external parasites of livestock (ticks, flies, lice, mites, etc). Levamisole has been used massively worldwide in countless generic formulations. It still remains one of the most preferred low-cost anthelmintics for livestock worldwide.
In contrast with benzimidazoles, levamisole drenches are solutions, not suspensions. This means that the active ingredients in levamisole drenches does not sediment with time and consequently thoroughly shaking the container before product administration is not an absolute must to prevent administration errors.
As many other anthelmintics (e.g. benzimidazoles, monepantel, and tetrahydropyrimidines) levamisole administered as a drench has no residual effect, i.e. it kills the parasites shortly after administration, but does not significantly protect the animals against re-infestation by infective stages in their environment.
Unfortunately, resistance of several gastrointestinal roundworms to levamisole is already very high and very frequent worldwide in sheep and goats, slightly lower in cattle, which has significantly reduced its usage in livestock. Nowadays more convenient pour-ons and injectables containing macrocyclic lactones (e.g. abamectin, doramectin, eprinomectin, ivermectin, moxidectin) are often preferred over drenches with levamisole or benzimidazoles. Macrocyclic lactones (ML) also ensure several weeks protection against re-infestation by several worm species, in contrast with levamisole or benzimidazole drenches that lack any residual effect. However, resistance of gastrontestinal worms to ML is alredy quite frequent in sheep and goats, less common in cattle but increaising.
Levamisole is often used in combinations that broaden the spectrum of activity. Typical combinations for livestock include a flukicide (e.g. closantel, triclabendazole, etc.) or a taenicide (e.g. praziquantel). In some countries there are also mixtures of levamisole with other nematicides that have different mechanisms of action to try to overcome roundworm resistance.
In ruminants, reducing the amount of feed slows down the exit flow of the rumen and prolongs the time during which the active ingredient remains there and is absorbed. Consequently it is advisable to reduce the access of animals to feed (especially to fresh pasture, not to water) 24 hours before administration. For the same reason, it is better to keep the animals away from food for about 6 hours after drenching. However sick or weak animals should not be kept away from food and fasting animals should have access to water.
Click here for general information on good practices for the prevention and control of gastrointestinal worms in livestock.
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.
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In case of doubt contact the manufacturer or a veterinary professional.