The Introduction of Lufenuron

- Jan 19, 2018 -


Lufenuron is the active ingredient in the veterinary flea control medication Program, and one of the two active ingredients in the flea, heartworm, ringworm and anthelmintic medicine milbemycin oxime/lufenuron

Lufenuron is stored in the animal's body fat and transferred to adult fleas through the host's blood when they feed. Adult fleas transfer it to their growing eggs through their blood, and to hatched larvae feeding on their excrement. It does not kill adult fleas.Lufenuron, a benzoylurea pesticide, inhibits the production of chitin in insects. Without chitin, a larval flea will never develop a hard outer shell (exoskeleton). With its inner organs exposed to air, the insect dies from dehydration soon after hatching or molting Lufenuron is also used to fight fungal infections, since fungus cell walls are about one third chitin.

Lufenuron is also sold as an agricultural pesticide for use against lepidopterans, eriophid mites, and western flower thrips. It is an effective antifungal in plants



Insects are protected in the world by a hard exoskeleton made of a material called chitin. Lufenuron inhibits the production of chitin in insects.

By the time a flea has reached adulthood and is taking blood meals from a pet, it has made all the chitin it needs and is not directly affected by the lufenuron it is drinking in the pet's blood. The female flea, however, is largely drinking blood to support egg-laying (up to 40 eggs daily) and the larvae developing inside these eggs must make chitin in order to chip their way out of the egg. If the mother flea has passed along a healthy dose of lufenuron to her eggs, they will not be able to hatch.

Adult fleas feeding on a pet will be continually producing the black specks of digested blood called flea dirt. This material is highly nutritious for larvae developing in the environment but if this flea dirt is packed with lufenuron, the larvae will not be able to grow normal exoskeletons and they will die.


Oral lufenuron must be given on a full stomach in order to be properly absorbed into the body.

Since lufenuron works on enzymes systems that are unique to insects, no other side effects have been reported even in animals fed hundreds of times the recommended dose.


Program does not interact with other medications. Program is therefore compatible with all other treatments.

It is important to note that with the advent of popular top-spot and oral treatments for fleas, special attention should be paid to the development of resistance to these 

products. Experience with other insects tells us that resistance can develop in 12 to 15 generations. In order to preserve these new insecticides, it is important to consider what is called integrated pest management. What this means is that insecticides should be rotated or combined with insect development inhibitors such as lufenuron or insect growth regulators like methoprene. Fleas that are resistant to the top-spot treatments must not be allowed to pass on their genes for resistance. Lufenuron may be used in combination with any of the popular effective topicals or oral products to achieve this end.


In order for lufenuron to work, fleas must bite the pet, potentially a problem for the flea allergic pet. For pets with flea bite allergy, lufenuron would best be combined with a product that actually kills fleas. There is at present no flea product that can kill fleas before they bite.

Oral lufenuron must be given on a full stomach. Each oral dose lasts 30 days.

Kittens must be at least 6 weeks of age and puppies must be at least 4 weeks of age to begin taking lufenuron.


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