Praziquantel is a drug used to treat tapeworms in cats. The drug is available in various forms, such as an injection and tablet. Praziquantel is considered a taenicide that belongs to the chemical class of isoquinolines. The drug has a narrow spectrum, and so it is combined with nematicides like tetrahydropyrimidines and macrocyclic lactones. It is available in a container that you should store in a cool and dry place. After you open the container, ensure that the container is always tightly closed to maintain freshness and avoid exposure to microorganisms.
Mechanism of action of Praziquantel
Praziquantel is exceptionally effective against adult parasitic tapeworms like mesocestoides, Taenia, Avitellina, and Dipylidium. It is also highly effective for flukes like Eurytrema and Schistosoma. Praziquantel is used to control the eggs and larvae of certain insect species. It works by internally damaging the parasite’s skin, causing it to disintegrate. At the moment, the molecular mode of action of Praziquantel is not known. In Schistosoma worms, it paralyzes and kills the worms by inhibiting the absorption of calcium to the muscular membrane. In tapeworms, Praziquantel damages the tegument structures found in tapeworms, affecting carbohydrate metabolism. Once the tegument structures are destroyed, they are digested by the gastric juice of the host and removed from the body during excretion.
How is Praziquantel Administered?
Praziquantel is administered orally as a tablet. It can be taken with or without food, but it should not be taken on an empty stomach. Thus, always ensure that your pet has eaten before you administer the drug. The first method of administration is to crush the tablet and mix it with food. Make sure that your cat takes the total dosage. If your cat vomits immediately after the medication, call your vet for further instruction on how to handle the situation. There is the option of taking your cat to the hospital or clinic for an injection. An injection works faster than swallowing because the drug is immediately absorbed into the bloodstream. Within one or two hours, the medication should be effective. If you notice any outward side effects, you must carry out laboratory tests to determine the effectiveness of the medicine.
Praziquantel has proven effective in the treatment of some varieties of schistosomes. In addition, you can also use it to treat cestodes like tapeworms and trematodes like flukes. You should give cats and kittens above six weeks a tablet that contains 23 mg. Per Vcahospitals, the number of tablets given depends on the weight; Cats under 4 pounds give half a tablet, 5-11 pounds given one tablet, while cats weighing over 11 pounds ahould take one and a half tablets.
What if I skip a dosage?
It is advisable that you give the missed dose as soon as you remember, and then you can proceed with the rest of the prescribed doses. It is dangerous to give your cat an extra dose or two doses at the same time. It can lead to serious side effects such as seizures.
Pet monitoring during medication
While your cat is taking the medication, there needs to be someone to do fecal examinations. If you can’t do it, your vet can help you. Some of the worms may not be digested and may be visible on the feces.
Storage of Praziquantel
Store in a tight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Signs that your cats need Praziquantel
Praziquantel is used to treat intestinal tapeworms that are common in all animals. Understanding the symptoms of tapeworms can help you take preventative measures and treatment options to help maintain your cat healthily and active.. It will also reduce the risk of transmitting tapeworms to other pets as well as humans. It may be difficult to notice signs of tapeworms since it does not cause any severe disease. The symptoms of tapeworms vary depending on preexisting conditions and age. Some of the signs include; irritability, shaggy coat, loss of appetite, seizures, emaciation, mild diarrhea, intestinal blockage, and tapeworm segments in feces. If you notice white grains that look like rice in your cat’s feces, that could be one of the signs it has a tapeworm.
Drugs that you can use together with Praziquantel
You can give the following drugs together with Praziquantel but with caution: itraconazole, CYP3A4 inducers, Albendazole, Oxamniquine, and Ketoconazole. If you use any of the above drugs or any supplements, vitamins, and herbal medicines, be sure to consult with your doctor.
What to do in case of an Emergency
In the case of an emergency like an adverse reaction or an overdose, do not hesitate to call your vet immediately. If your doctor is not available or is far away, read the instructions given in the emergency section and follow the procedures outlined.
Pharmacist tips for Praziquantel
Avoid chewing Praziquantel since it has a bitter taste. Take the drug with plenty of water to ease off swallowing. If your cat experiences difficulties in swallowing, crush the drug and mix it with food. Praziquantel has a thin line that makes it easy to break and give your cat according to the recommended dosage. Do not mix Praziquantel with antibiotics like rifampin, which may have adverse reactions.
Pharmacokinetics of Praziquantel
Praziquantel can be administered orally or through an injection. After injection, it is immediately absorbed in the bloodstream of all species. Once it is absorbed, the body attains maximum plasma levels after thirty to 2 hours. The drug is then quickly distributed to all body parts, with high concentrations in the kidneys and the liver. The drug is also partly disturbed to the gut lumen, which destroys parasitic worms found in the intestinal wall. Praziquantel is then converted to ineffective metabolites through the process of metabolism. Blood plasma has a half-life of about 30 minutes. It lacks residual effect because of the brief anthelmintic effect. After two to three hours, the cat will feel like excreting. 40-70% of the worms will be excreted through urine in the form of metabolites. The rest will be excreted through feces and bile. Less than 1% of the worms will not be destroyed, and they will be excreted. According to Marvistavet, a day after Praziquantel has been administered, 80% of the drug will have been excreted, and after two days, the whole excretion process will be complete.
Side Effects of the Drug
It is uncommon to notice any side effects after swallowing the tablets, but if they do occur, the following are some of the symptoms to look out for; Loss of appetite, vomiting, constant drooling, diarrhea, and loose stool. Praziquantel is bitter, and 5% of the cats usually experience nausea after taking it. The side effects after an injection include; vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, sleepiness, pain in the injected area, staggering while walking, and loss of appetite. Injectable Praziquantel stings more than the regular injections, which may cause scratching and discomfort in your cat immediately after the injection. In the event your feline experiences the above reactions, do not panic since they should stop after a few days. However, it may take longer in cats with kidney and liver problems. It is advisable to consult with your veterinarian once you notice the above reactions. Before you change, give your cat any deworming drug or herbal supplement consult first with your vet.
- Drug name: Praziquantel
- Other names: Drontal, Droncit, Drontal Plus
- Manufacturer: Bayer
- Drug type: dewormer (anthelmintic)
- Purpose: eradicate tapeworms
- Animals: cats and dogs
- Administration: injection of 23 mg and 34 mg tablets
- How it is dispensed: prescription only
- Is it Approved by FDA: Yes it is.
Pros of Praziquantel
- It is the only drug approved by FDA to treat liver flukes
- The drug works well to treat most blood flukes that are stubborn
- It is available at a lower cost when you purchase the generic medication
- The tablets can be crushed and mixed with water for ease of swallowing or directly mixed with food.
Cons of Praziquantel
- The tablets have a bitter taste and can cause vomiting or nausea
- It has more side effects on cats with liver problems
- It does not interact with some drugs like carbamazepine, verapamil, and diltiazem
Risk Factors of using Praziquantel
Praziquantel should not be used in cats that have allergic reactions. It should also not be given to kittens less than six weeks old. Pregnant cats should not be given Praziquantel as it may interfere with the pregnancy. A lactating cat may be given the drug but with the help of a vet who will give the correct prescription. If a lactating cat is given Praziquantel, it should stay for a period of four days without nursing the kittens.
Cautions and Concerns
Praziquantel is safe to use in cats. It should not be used in cats under six weeks. If you are using the topical profender, it should not be used in kittens below eight weeks. Always ensure that your cat does not take the drug on an empty stomach, although the tablets can be administered with or without food. Remember to store in a tight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should I confine my cat in the bathroom after giving it Praziquantel for tapeworms? I have small kids, and I don’t want them to get infected. It is unnecessary to confine your cat unless it’s being fussy. You need to maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands and that of your kids often and ensure that the litter bin is always empty. Also, ensure that you treat your cat for fleas since cats get tapeworms from ingesting fleas that carry the tapeworm eggs. Treat the fleas for three months consecutively and the tapeworms for 2-3 weeks, and you will be good to go. I recently treated my cat with a dewormer for roundworms, but I have recently noticed that she also has tapeworms. Can I administer Praziquantel immediately? It is ok to give your cat Praziquantel, but it is good to first check with your vet. Many dewormers contain a combination of active ingredients that can be used to treat both roundworms and tapeworms. If you notice any adverse reactions like diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy after giving Praziquantel, stop the medication immediately and consult with your cat’s vet.
How did my cat get the Dipylidium tapeworm?
Dipylidium tapeworm is obtained after a cat ingests fleas that carry tapeworm larvae. A cat may swallow a flea when it is self-grooming. Once the flea is ingested, the larvae tapeworm develops into an adult tapeworm which attaches itself to the intestinal wall. Adult tapeworms have segments called proglottids which resemble a rice grain. They can measure 4-28 inches long. As the adult tapeworm matures, the segments tear off and are passed with the stool.
Can I get a tapeworm infection from my cat?
Yes. It is possible to get tapeworms from your cat but in very rare circumstances, does this happen. The human risk of infection is low. Tapeworms can only be transmitted by ingesting fleas. The risk of infection is high in children mainly because they love to play with cats. The only way to prevent the transmission of tapeworms is to control fleas. One of the signs that your child is infected with tapeworms is you will notice proglottids or rice-like particles in the stool, or some may be stuck in the anal area. Once you notice the above sign, immediately put your cat and child under medication. The cat can be given Praziquantel orally or through an injection.
Praziquantel is one of the most effective drugs approved by the FDA to treat tapeworms and flukes. It works by internally disintegrating the parasite’s skin, hence deterioration. The medication can be purchased from any pet store, or you can consult your veterinarian if you need one. It is advisable to constantly monitor your cat to check whether it has one or some of the symptoms of tapeworm. Once you realize that your cat is not behaving as expected, please consult your doctor on whether it is appropriate to administer Praziquantel. Remember to exercise care and caution while your cat is on medication due to the side effects of the drug.