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Several parasiticides that previously were only available on prescription (as POM-Vs) have been reclassified so they can now be sold without a prescription by a vet, SQP or pharmacist (NFA-VPS). 

By doing this module you will:

  • Update your knowledge on the legal supply categories for veterinary medicines.

  • Find out which products have been reclassified.

  • Learn key points about the products.

  • Be aware of how they fit into the existing range of products.

There are four legal supply categories for veterinary medicines in the UK. They are:

  • POM-V. Prescription-only medicine (Veterinarian) – these must be prescribed by a vet and supplied by a vet or pharmacist.

  • POM-VPS. Prescription-only medicine (Veterinarian, Pharmacist, SQP) – these must be prescribed by a vet, pharmacist or SQP, and be supplied by a vet, pharmacist or SQP.

  • NFA-VPS. Non-food animal (Veterinarian, Pharmacist, SQP) – there is no need for a prescription. These must be supplied by a vet, pharmacist or SQP.

  • AVM-GSL. Authorised Veterinary Medicine (General Sales List) – there is no need for a prescription. These can be supplied by any retailer. 

Companion animal parasiticides are either POM-V, NFA-VPS or AVM-GSL. For more information on prescribing and supplying veterinary medicines, see the module Prescribing and supplying veterinary medicines – a guide for SQPs.

The veterinary medicines regulatory authority (the Veterinary Medicines Directorate [VMD] in the UK) determines the legal category of a veterinary medicine. New medicines that contain a new active ingredient are usually classified as prescription-only medicines to begin with. If a company that markets a product requests for the product to be reclassified so that it is available without a prescription, the VMD makes a judgement about whether it is safe to do so. Only products that have been in use for many years, and for which there are no safety concerns are reclassified. For products that are candidates for moving to the NFA-VPS classification, the regulator will take into consideration that a qualified person (a vet, pharmacist or SQP) will advise on the sale. For products that may become AVM-GSL, the regulator must judge that the product is safe to be sold without advice from a qualified person. 

The following are parasiticide products that have recently been reclassified. We have highlighted the main features to help you keep up to date. 

Fiprotec spray for cats and dogs – NFA-VPS

  • Fiprotec spray for cats and dogs contains fipronil, which kills fleas, ticks and biting lice.

  • It is licensed in cats and dogs for treating and preventing flea and tick infestations, and for treating biting lice infestations.

  • It is applied by spray to the entire body. This is the first time a spray form of fipronil has been available without a prescription.

  • It can be used on puppies and kittens from the age of 2 days and is suitable for use on cats and dogs up to 5–10kg bodyweight, depending on the length of hair, but is not adequate for medium and large dogs.

  • The product remains on the skin and coat of the animal and is effective against fleas for up to 2 months in cats and up to 3 months in dogs, and effective against ticks for up to 1 month.

  • Bathing or shampooing up to four times in 2 months does not reduce efficacy. 

  • PVC or nitrile gloves should be worn to apply the product in a well-ventilated room.

  • Animals that lick the product on the fur may salivate.

  • Activyl spot-on for dogs contains indoxacarb, an insecticide and larvicide.

  • It is licensed for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations.

  • The product works by being present on the dog’s skin and hair and is ingested by fleas. 

  • Indoxacarb kills fleas and can kill flea larvae in the dog’s immediate surroundings and is effective for 4 weeks.

  • This is the first non-prescription product containing indoxacarb, and so it is a new spot-on option for treating and preventing flea infestations in dogs. 

  • The usual cautions for spot-ons apply to this product, including not allowing the dog to swim for 48 hours after application, and taking care that children do not handle or share a bed with the dog on the day of treatment.

  • The dog’s hair might appear greasy where the product has been applied and there may be a white residue. If the area is licked, the dog may produce more saliva than usual. 

  • Indoxacarb is also an ingredient in Activyl spot-on for cats and Activyl Tick Plus (indoxacarb + permethrin) for dogs. These products remain as POM-Vs

  • Dronspot spot-on for cats contains two wormers: emodepside and praziquantel.

  • This is the first time emodepside has been available in a non-prescription product. 

  • Emodepside is a wormer that is effective against roundworms.

  • Praziquantel is a wormer that is effective against tapeworms.

  • The product is for treating roundworm and tapeworm infection, including treatment of queens to prevent transmission of roundworm to kittens in the milk.

  • It is the first spot-on wormer for cats available without a prescription.

  • The way that emodepside is broken down in the body means that it may interact with some other drugs (including some prescription-only parasticides, the antibiotic erythromycin and the steroid prednisolone). This means that, in theory, the amount of emodepside or the other drug in the body may increase or decrease. The owner should be advised to contact a vet if the cat is on any medication before using Dronspot, and also to tell any vet that treats the cat if this product is being used. 

  • Reported side effects are salivation and vomiting, nervous effects (unsteady or stumbling gait), tremor, hair loss, inflammation and itchiness at the application site. All of these have only been reported very rarely (in fewer than 1 in 10,000 animals).

Although these products will have been in use for several years as prescription-only products, it is important that we learn about their safety when available under the new supply classification. So it is important to report any adverse reactions – this includes suspected lack of effect. Anyone can report an adverse effect – a vet, veterinary nurse, pharmacist, SQP or pet owner. The report should be made to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate or the company that markets the product.

For more details, including instructions on how to use the products, consult the product information which is available on the Veterinary Medicines Directorate Product Information Database.

For more information controlling parasites, see our related CPD modules:

Making sense of worming products

Making sense of flea and tick products

Parasite protection for adult cats

Parasiticides for adult dogs



You can listen to a complete podcast of the module by using the play button below or use the download link on the right-hand side of the player to download the podcast to your mobile device.


Test yourself

To do the CPD quiz and receive your certificate, you will need to hit the play button on the player below and enter your name and email address before you start.