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Lotilaner for Pets: Is TP-05 the Same Thing?

If you keep up with up-and-coming pharmaceuticals, you may have heard of the tick pill called TP-05, which is currently undergoing trials for use in people. But wait — isn’t a tick prevention pill a pet medication? That’s what makes TP-05 so interesting. The investigational drug TP-05 has the same active ingredient (lotilaner) as Credelio®, a flea- and tick-killing medication for pets. But this isn’t a new tick pill for pets. Instead, it’s meant for people. Read on to learn more about lotilaner for dogs and cats and how the investigational drug TP-05 fits into the picture.

What is lotilaner for dogs and cats?

Lotilaner is an antiparasitic drug used in dogs and cats that remains effective for at least one month after being given to the pet by mouth. Lotilaner is commercially available under the brand name Credelio™ (for dogs) or Credelio CAT (for cats). The medication is given to your pet on a monthly basis and requires a veterinary prescription. Parasite prevention is a routine part of pet care and is recommended year-round, though you may think of parasites as a spring-to-fall issue.

Parasites killed by lotilaner for pets

In dogs, lotilaner treats and prevents fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) and the following tick species:

  • American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis)
  • Black-legged tick or deer tick (Ixodes scapularis)
  • Lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum)
  • Brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus)

Lotilaner is also used off-label to treat demodectic and sarcoptic mange (scabies) in dogs. Although it’s not labeled for these species, the drug has also shown efficacy against the Cayenne tick (Amblyomma cajennense), the Australian paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus), and the Asian long-horned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) in dogs. Dogs must be at least eight weeks old and weigh at least 4.4 pounds to take this medication.

In cats, lotilaner treats and prevents fleas, and it treats and controls black-legged tick infestations. Cats must be at least eight weeks of age and weigh at least two pounds to take this medication.

The black-legged tick is the most commonly implicated tick for spreading Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) to people.

How lotilaner works in pets

Lotilaner belongs to a specific group of parasite-killing medications called isoxazolines. Other drugs in the same group of antiparasitic medications include fluralaner, afoxolaner, and sarolaner. Lotilaner affects the ability of the parasites' nerves to transmit signals. As a result, the parasites become paralyzed and die. The specific way these drugs affect the parasites is unique to the parasites' nervous system, so your dog or cat doesn't experience the same result.

Lotilaner begins to kill ticks within 4 hours, with almost 99% of ticks killed within 8 hours of administration.

Side effects of lotilaner in pets

Side effects of lotilaner aren't common in dogs and cats. Although the FDA has warned that the isoxazoline drug class can cause neurologic signs, including muscle tremors, a clumsy gait, and seizures, the FDA considers these drugs safe for most dogs and cats. You should speak with your veterinarian before giving your pet lotilaner.

Studies performed in dogs found that serious side effects of lotilaner are rare. Uncommon side effects include weight loss, an elevated kidney value on blood work (blood urea nitrogen aka BUN), excessive urination, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Cat studies also indicate that serious side effects are very unlikely. Uncommon side effects include weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and elevated BUN.

What is TP-05 for people?

TP-05 is an oral form of lotilaner currently being investigated as a potential therapeutic to prevent Lyme disease in people. Lyme disease is one of several diseases that can be transmitted to people by ticks. In this case, the black-legged tick is the typical culprit. The ticks transmit a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease. The early symptoms include headaches, fever, and a characteristic bullseye rash. Untreated, Lyme disease can progress to affect the joints, nervous system, and heart.

Long story short, this medication would work for people in much the same way lotilaner works for our pets. But for people, it could become the first FDA-approved pharmacologic option for preventing Lyme disease. The drug is being developed by Tarsus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Like lotilaner for pets, TP-05 would be given to people by mouth, with the aim of killing ticks that attach to a person within 24 hours of attachment. This would effectively reduce the risk of Lyme disease because most ticks must be attached for 36 to 48 hours to effectively transmit Lyme disease to the person they’re biting.

In trials, TP-05 was still effective 30 days after administration, meaning ticks that attached to a person a month after a dose of TP-05 were still killed by the drug within 24 hours of attaching. Similar efficacy is shown in dogs and cats receiving lotilaner.

How does TP-05 work for ticks?

TP-05 given to people would kill ticks through the same mechanism that lotilaner kills ticks that attach to pets. It causes paralysis and death of the parasites within 24 hours after they attach to a person by affecting the ability of the parasite's nerves to transmit signals. Again, these nerve pathways are unique to the parasites, so humans who take TP-05 don't have these effects.

Is TP-05 safe for people?

TP-05 is still under investigation and isn’t approved yet. However, a 2023 study showed that the most common drug-related side effect was a headache occurring in under 10% of study participants. No serious drug-related events have been reported in studies thus far, but further studies are needed. If lotilaner gets approved for use in people, consult with your physician about your risk of Lyme disease and whether this medication would be right for you.

In the meantime, make sure you're familiar with other tick prevention methods. Wearing long sleeves and pants, especially if you pretreat them with permethrin, when you're out in nature is a good way to repel ticks. Tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks to seal away the ticks' access to your skin. Wearing light colors also makes these dark parasites easier to see as they crawl up your clothes. Consider applying a bug repellant such as one that contains DEET to your skin. After hiking or walking in nature, make sure to check yourself for ticks! Wash your clothes and put them through a hot cycle in the dryer to kill any hitchhikers.

Please note that permethrin is toxic to cats. If you apply permethrin to your clothes, you should not make contact with your cats until the permethrin has dried. When spraying the permethrin, do so in an area your cat doesn't have access, such as outside your home.

Is TP-05 safe for dogs and cats?

TP-05 is being investigated as a medication intended for people, so its safety in dogs and cats isn’t a focus at the moment. Studies have not been performed looking at TP-05 vs. traditional tick prevention methods in pets. You will not find reliable reviews of TP-05 from pet owners because this drug isn’t available for pets (or humans yet, for that matter).

If you’re looking for where to buy TP-05 for pets, your search isn’t completely in vain. Although TP-05 is an investigational drug for people, meaning you can’t get that specific medication for your pet, we already have approved tick-killing medication for pets with the same active ingredient, lotilaner.

Because TP-05 isn't intended for pets, consider these tick-prevention products instead:

For dogs:

  • Prescription required: Nexgard, Simparica, Credelio, Bravecto
  • Available over the counter: Seresto collar, K9 Advantix II, Frontline Plus, PetArmor Plus
  • Consider having your dog vaccinated for Lyme disease (unavailable for cats)

For cats:

  • Prescription required: Revolution Plus, Bravecto, Credelio CAT, NexGard Combo
  • Available over the counter: Advantage II, Frontline Plus, PetArmor Plus
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Make sure you choose a product that's labeled for your type of pet. Speak with your veterinarian before choosing a tick preventive to make sure it's a good choice for your pet.

The future of TP-05

As far as the availability and pricing of TP-05 in the U.S. goes, we currently don't have exact timing or values for you. TP-05 is undergoing Phase 2 studies, which means investigators are looking at whether the drug is effective. These studies also allow for more safety data to be gathered. A drug isn't approved and available until Phase 4.

Speak with your veterinarian about parasite prevention options for your pets. Perhaps in the future, you and your pet will take your separate tick prevention pills on the same day each month.

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