BRAND NAME: DRONCIT, PROFENDER, DRONTAL, DRONTAL PLUS, SENTINEL SPECTRUM, IVERHART PLUS, VIRBANTEL
HOW THIS MEDICATION IS USED
Praziquantel is primarily used against parasites known as "cestodes" (tapeworms). The Common Tapeworm of dogs & cats (Dipylidium caninum), is the usual target of this medication though praziquantel is also effective against less common types of tapeworms such as Taenia species and the more dangerous Mesocestoides species and Echinococcus species. Praziquantel is also effective against flukes.
A single treatment of praziquantel should clear a Dipylidium caninum infection though a second treatment is sometimes recommended if it is felt that immediate re-infection is likely. Immediate re-infection might take place if a heavy uncontrolled flea problem is present in the pet's environment; Dipylidium caninum is contracted when an infected adult flea harboring a tapeworm lava is eaten.
Praziquantel is also available in an oral tablet in combination with the dewormer pyrantel pamoate (Drontal) with or without the additional dewormer febantel (Drontal Plus). This combination allows for a very broad spectrum deworming against the tapeworm species listed above, hookworms, roundworms and, if febantel is included, whipworms, too. The Drontal products are available for both dogs and cats by prescription. Recently, praziquantel has been combined into heartworm preventives intended for monthly use (Sentinel Spectrum®, and Iverhart Max®) so that dogs can be dewormed for intestinal parasites including tapeworms regularly. These products are also available by prescription.
As of late 2007, praziquantel is also available in a topical combination with the anti-parasite drug emodepside. This combination product is applied to the cat's shoulder area and is effective against the tapeworms of the above types as well as hookworms (Ancylostoma tubaeformae) and roundworms (Toxocara cati). The brand name of this product is Profender; it is manufactured by Bayer Animal Health and is available by prescription. Unlike other roundworm/hookworm dewormers, only a single dose is necessary for this product.
Praziquantel is available in non-prescription tablets which may be purchased at pet supply store outlets. Brand name products, combination products, and injections are available only through veterinarians as they are prescription drugs.
HOW THIS MEDICATION WORKS
Praziquantel acts by inciting damage to the parasite's skin internally such that the parasite disintegrates and is removed by the host's immune system. Unlike the situation with roundworms, dead tapeworms generally will not be seen passing from the host after deworming.
Injectable praziquantel tends to sting at the site of administration more than most injections and it is not unusual for a pet to scratch at the site or cry immediately following injection.
The oral form of praziquantel is bitter tasting and approximately 5% of patients taking it experience nausea.
It has been reported that approximately one cat in ten will experience weakness, salivation, or nausea after a tapeworm injection with praziquantel, but we have seen such reactions far less frequently. This is generally of minor significance and resolves on its own.
CAUTIONS & CONCERNS
Praziquantel is felt to be safe for use in pregnant patients.
Praziquantel should not be used in puppies under age 4 weeks or kittens under age 6 weeks. The topical Profender product described above is approved for feline use only and is not approved for kittens under age 8 weeks.
Fasting is not necessary prior to praziquantel use and oral praziquantel can be given with or without food.
Tablets should be stored at room temperature away from light exposure.
Page last revised: 9/30/2015