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.
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) Decade + Company that introduced it.
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.