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Lufenuron (Program)
Revised: September 20, 2022
Published: January 01, 2001

(For veterinary information only)

The size of the tablet/medication is NOT an indication of a proper dose. Never administer any drug without your veterinarian's input. Serious side effects or death can occur if you use drugs on your pet without your veterinarian's advice. 

It is our policy not to give dosing information over the internet.

Brand Name: Sentinel and Sentinel Spectrum (In combination with other anti-parasite medications)

Available as oral suspension; and in 45 mg, 90 mg, 204.9 mg, & 409.8 mg tablets


Flea control for pets used to be all about shampoos, sprays, foggers, flea collars, and powders. The U.S. market had been long in search of a flea product that was safe, convenient, and effective and many companies were racing to bring out their new product first. Ciba Animal Health won this battle in 1995 with the approval of lufenuron for use in U.S. pets. The introduction of lufenuron marked what is called the "revolution" in flea control where products shifted towards monthly oral and topical products and away from the labor-intensive materials of the past. Lufenuron does not kill fleas but it is highly effective at ending flea reproduction. This means that it is best used in combination with other products. It is presently available in Sentinel® and Sentinel Spectrum® where it is combined with milbemycin or milbemycin and praziquantel respectively.

How this Medication Works

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 big dose of lufenuron to her eggs, they will not be able to hatch.

Adult fleas feeding on a pet will continually produce 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.

Side Effects

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

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

Interactions with Other Drugs

Lufenuron does not interact with other medications and is, therefore compatible with all other treatments.

It is important to note that with the advent of popular top-spot 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 such as methoprene or pyriproxifen (substances that interfere with the maturation of flea larvae). Adding a second product that breaks the flea life cycle in another stage is helpful in preventing resistance.  Lufenuron may be used in combination with any of the popular effective topicals or oral products to achieve this end.

Compare flea control products.

Concerns and Cautions

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

Lufenuron must be given on a full stomach.

Pets must be at least six weeks of age to begin taking lufenuron.

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