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J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 1986 Mar;9(1):1-25.

Phenylbutazone in the horse: a review.


Phenylbutazone is an acidic, lipophilic, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It is extensively metabolized in the horse. The metabolites so far identified, oxyphenbutazone, gamma-hydroxyoxyphenbutazone, account for some 25-30% of administered dose over 24 h. The plasma half-life of phenylbutazone and termination of its pharmacological action are determined primarily by its rate of hepatic metabolism. Phenylbutazone acts by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase enzyme system, which is responsible for synthesis of prostanoids such as PGE2. It appears to act on prostaglandin-H synthase and prostacyclin synthase, after conversion by prostaglandin-H synthase to reactive intermediates. It markedly reduces prostanoid-dependent swelling, edema, erythema, and hypersensitivity to pain in inflamed tissues. Its principal use in the horse is for treatment of soft tissue inflammation. Phenylbutazone is highly bound (greater than 98%) to plasma protein. After i.v. injection, blood levels decline with an elimination half-life of 3-10 h. The plasma kinetics of phenylbutazone may be dose dependent, with the plasma half-life increasing as the drug dosage level increases. Plasma residues of the drug at 24 h after a single i.v. dose of 2 g/450 kg average about 0.9 microgram/ml, but considerable variation occurs. If dosing is repeated, the plasma residue accumulates to give mean residual blood levels of approximately 4.5 microgram/ml on Day 5 after 4 days of dosing. Approximately similar blood levels are found after a combination of oral and i.v. dosing. Experiments on large numbers of horses in training have been undertaken to ascertain the population distributions of residual blood levels after such dosing schedules. Absorption of phenylbutazone from the gastrointestinal tract is influenced by the dose administered and the relationship of dosing to feeding. Access to hay can delay the time of peak plasma concentration to 18 h or longer. Under optimal conditions, the bioavailability of oral phenylbutazone is probably in the region of 70%. Paste preparations may be more slowly absorbed than other preparations and yield higher residual plasma levels at 24 h after dosing, but further controlled studies are required. Phenylbutazone is easily detected in the plasma and urine of horses but concentrations in saliva are low. It is quantitated for forensic purposes by HPLC. The variability of this method between laboratories is about +/- 25%. Increasing urinary pH increases the urinary concentration of phenylbutazone and its metabolites up to 200-fold.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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