Levamisole for horses

Equine protozoan spinal encephalitis is an equine disease that affects the central nervous system; especially the brain and/or spinal cord. 1 The main pathogen is the protozoan saccade neuron. EPM was first described as segmental myelitis in the 1960s, but in the mid-1970s the disease was identified as being caused by protozoa. S. neurona was first isolated from the spinal cord of horses with clinical signs of EPM in the early 1990s. In the late 1990s, the protozoan Neospora hughesi was also shown to cause EPM in horses, but it was a relatively rare cause of the disease compared to S. neurona. 1 EPM is a disease that occurs primarily in the Western Hemisphere and is less common in other parts of the world.


Levamisole for EPM in Horses

In horses with EPM, levamisole can be used to control clinical symptoms secondary to inflammation following antiprotozoal treatment. In conventional use, levamisole stimulates the parasympathetic nerves and sympathetic ganglia of susceptible worms. At higher concentrations, levamisole interfered with nematode carbohydrate metabolism by blocking the reduction of fumarate and the oxidation of succinate. The mechanism of immunostimulatory action of levamisole is unknown. Levamisole is thought to restore cell-mediated immune function in peripheral T lymphocytes and stimulate phagocytosis by monocytes.

Its immunostimulatory effects appear to be more pronounced in immunocompromised animals. 2 Levamisole is contraindicated in mammals and is not approved for such use. Caution should be used in severely debilitated or severely impaired renal or hepatic animals. Side effects of levamisole seen in cattle may include blistering or drooling, agitation or shaking, lip licking, and shaking your head. These effects usually occur at higher than recommended doses or when levamisole is used concomitantly with organophosphates. Signs usually disappear within two hours. 2

Levamisole: Controversial Uses 

In horses, levamisole is metabolized to aminorex and possibly to pimoline, which is considered a potent stimulant and is classified as 1/A in the Horse Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) Harmonized Classification of Foreign Bodies. This creates a difficult situation for performance horse (racehorse) owners because its presence gives the appearance of intentionally taking aminorex, even though levamisole is only used as a repellent. For this reason, levamisole itself is a class 2 drug, while Aminorex is a class 1 drug under ARCI. 3 Noting its routine use in horses, the Horse Racing Drug and Testing Consortium (RMTC) considered a 2017 management study to develop guidelines for use of levamisole and surveyed practicing veterinarians about their use of the drug.

In recent years, levamisole has been widely used as a cutting agent for illicit (street) drugs, mainly cocaine and to a lesser extent heroin. In fact, levamisole-contaminated cocaine has been reported to be a growing problem in the United States and other countries, with patients found to have been exposed to levamisole-contaminated cocaine in several U.S. states. In 2009, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported that 69 percent of cocaine imported into the United States contained levamisole. The DEA also found traces of levamisole in heroin seizures. 4 As an adjunctive treatment for equine EPM, recommended doses include levamisole 1 mg/kg p.o. every 12 hours for the first 2 weeks with antiprotozoal treatment, then every 12 hours for the first week of each month, or 2.2 mg/kg p.o. every 24 Hourly for 3 days, then 4 days for 4-6 weeks. 2

People also ask

What is levamisole used for in horses?

Levamisole is commercially available as a dewormer for cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs. It also has conventional off-label uses in horses as an immunostimulant and as a medication for treatment of Equine Protozoal Myelitis (EPM).

Is levamisole safe for horses?

Levamisole should not be administered to horses about to compete because of its ability to metabolise to two central nervous system stimulants, aminorex and pemoline.

What does levamisole treat?

Answer: Levamisole is a veterinary pharmaceutical used primarily to treat worm infestations in livestock. It has also been used experimentally and historically to treat various autoimmune disorders and cancers in humans. Most recently it has been used as an adulterant in cocaine.

Is levamisole a dewormer?


Levamisole is also used as a dewormer for livestock.

How long does levamisole stay in your system?

Because levamisole has a short half-life (5.6 hours), testing of blood or urine for levamisole should be done within 48 hours of last use. Routine immunoassays toxicology screens do not detect levamisole. Other methods, such as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, are required.

What are the side effects of levamisole?

SIDE EFFECTS: This medication causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth sores, loss of appetite, stomach pain, change in taste and smell, muscle aches, fatigue, dizziness, headache and skin rash. Notify your doctor if these symptoms become bothersome.

Is levamisole broad spectrum?

Levamisole, the levorotatory and biologically active isomer of the racemic tetramisole, was discovered by Janssen Pharmaceutica in 1966 and developed as a broad-spectrum anthelmintic for use in a variety of mammalian and avian species.

How do you take levamisole?

Levamisole has been prescribed to treat a variety of parasitic worm infections. It ought to be taken with food. Do not crush or chew or break the tablet. Swallow the whole thing with a full glass of water.

Is levamisole the same as ivermectin?

In addition, both of the 2 drugs were found to be more efficacious for migrating larvae than for encapsulated larvae. In the mass, ivermectin was superior to levamisole with regard to decreasing both free and encapsulated larvae.

Why was levamisole taken off the market?

Levamisole was withdrawn from the American market in 2000 due to its ability to cause serious adverse effects, including agranulocytosis. Interestingly, levamisole has been found as an adulterant in cocaine and can lead to a variety of adverse effects in individuals using this drug.

Is levamisole banned?

Although not available for human use, levamisole remains widely used in veterinary medicine for treating worms in livestock and domesticated animals. The drug can cause agranulocytosis, as well as vasculitis, which prompted the FDA ban on human use.

How much does levamisole cost?

Levamisole was originally developed in the 1960s as a treatment for parasitic worm infestations in livestock. Dr Moertel noted that the veterinary formulation of the drug is priced at $14.95 per animal for a year’s supply, while for colorectal cancer treatment in humans the cost is $1,495 per annum.

What is levamisole made of?


Levamisole, (–)-2,3,5,6-tetrahydro-6-phenylimidazo[2,1-b]thiazol (38.1. 27), is a derivative of imidazothiazol and is the l-isomer of d,l-tetramizole (±)-2,3,5,6-tetra-hydro-6-phenylimidazo[2,1-b]thiazol (38.1. 26), which is made in various ways.

Is levamisole over the counter?

Levamisole is used with another cancer medicine (fluorouracil) to help make it work better against cancer of the colon. Levamisole is available only with your doctor’s prescription.

Is levamisole in crack?

Over the last decade, levamisole has been increasingly encountered as an additive in both powder and crack cocaine. A white powder with a “fish scale” appearance, the chemical is physically similar to powder cocaine.

Is levamisole a steroid?

Levamisole has been considered the least toxic and least expensive steroid-sparing drug for preventing relapses of SSNS.

How effective is levamisole?

Levamisole is a drug of choice for treatment of ascariasis. With recommended dosages, it is virtually free of side effects. Single doses of 50 to 150mg will eliminate all parasites in 90 to 100% of ascariasis patients irrespective of worm burden.

Is levamisole a stimulant?

The neuropharmacological profile of LVM is also suggestive of an agent with modest reinforcing and stimulant effects that could enhance cocaine’s addictive effects.

Can levamisole cause seizures?

Abstract. Levamisole produces seizures in man and is also known to activate the neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which are further known to elicit seizure activity.

Is levamisole water soluble?

The chemical structure of levamisole is shown below. There are two common forms of levamisole, the free base and the hydrochloride salt. The molecular formula of the free base is C11H12N2S having a molecular weight of 204.3. Its melting point is 60-61.5 degrees Celsius (140-143 oF) and is not soluble in water.

What Latigo 50?


Latigo is an effective deworming solution with Levamisole as its active ingredient. It’s effective in seven types of worms that are commonly found in swines, goats and poultry stocks. It is currently available in tablet and water soluble format.

Is levamisole safe for puppies?

The oral route of 8 mg kg–1 b. wt., dose for levamisole hydrochloride has proved effective in the treatment of dog’s gastrointestinal nematode. This route is, therefore recommended for use in administering levamisole to dogs.

Why is levamisole in Coke?

One explanation for the addition of levamisole to cocaine is that it increases the amount of product and enhances profits. An alternative possibility, and one investigated here, is that levamisole alters cocaine’s action in vivo.

Is levamisole an immunosuppressant?

Levamisole can act either as an immunostimulant agent or an immunosuppressive agent. These apparently paradoxical effects depend upon the dose administered, the timing of its administration, the experimental assay used to measure effects, and the host genetic background.

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