Brand: PROGRAM ® SUSPENSION
Company: ELANCO (NOVARTIS)
PARASITES CONTROLLED* (spectrum of activity): Fleas
- Cats, small ≤10 lbs. = ≤4.5 kg bw: 1 ampoule with 135 mg lufenuron (1.9 g suspension) (equivalent to >30.0 mg/kg lufenuron)
- Cats, large, 11 to 20 lbs. = 4.6 to 9 kg bw: 1 ampoule with 270 mg lufenuron (3.8 g suspension) (equivalent to 58.6 to 30 mg/kg lufenuron)
* Can be slightly different in some countries: read the product label!
- 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.
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, 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:
- Carbamates (F+T*), e.g. carbaryl, propoxur
- Indoxacarb (F*)
- Insect Development Inhibitors (F*), e.g. methoprene, pyriproxyfen
- Isoxazolines (F+T*), e.g. afoxolaner, fluralaner, sarolaner
- Macrocyclic lactones (F*), e.g. selamectin
- Neonicotinoids (F*), e.g. dinotefuran, imidacloprid, nitenpyram
- Organophosphates (F+T*), e.g. chlorpyrifos, coumaphos, diazinon, fenthionn, etc.
- Phenylpyrazoles (F+T*), e.g. fipronil, pyriprole
- Spinosyns (F*), e.g. spinetoram, spinosad
*F = effective against fleas; T = effective against ticks.
These alternative products are mostly not available for oral administration and maybe are not at all available for cats.
Resistance of fleas to carbamates, organophosphates and pyrethroids is not uncommon in several countries, including the USA.
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: Many countries, 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.
PROGRAM is NOVARTIS (now ELANCO) first and original brand with lufenuron, which was the first once-a-month tablet for flea prevention in dogs introduced in the early 1990s. Soon afterwards the oral suspension was introduced only for cats. 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. Best results are obtained when administered preventatively starting before the onset of the flea season.
Systemic products (tablets or suspensions for oral administration, injectables, etc.) 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.
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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