Pharmacokinetics and physiological effects of repeated oral administrations of tramadol in horses

A. G P Guedes, Heather K Knych, J. H N Soares, Robert J Brosnan

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10 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the pharmacokinetics and physiological effects of tramadol during repeated oral administrations in horses. Nine adult healthy horses were administered tramadol at 5 and 10 mg/kg orally every 12 h for 5 days in a randomized, crossover design with a 3-week washout between treatments. Plasma concentrations of tramadol, O- and N-desmethyltramadol (M1 and M2) were measured using Liquid-Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry at predetermined time points following each tramadol administration. Cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal physiological variables were monitored and adverse events were recorded. Data were analysed with two-way repeated measures anova or Kruskal-Wallis one-way anova on ranks with P < 0.05 considered statistically significant. There were no significant effects of tramadol on the physiological variables. One horse receiving 10 mg/kg tramadol developed mild colic. Following tramadol at 5 and 10 mg/kg, respectively, maximum plasma concentrations (Cmax) of tramadol ranged from 82-587 and 127-1280 ng/mL, nonconjugated M1 ranged from 2.51-26.7 and 4.88-34.3 ng/mL, and nonconjugated M2 from 12.5-356 and 35.4-486 ng/mL. Corresponding minimum plasma concentrations (Cmin) of tramadol at 12 h following each dose ranged from 0.8-24 and 3-117 ng/mL. Tramadol accumulated considerably over time, more markedly when given at 10 mg/kg than at 5 mg/kg (accumulation indexes of 3.51 and 1.73 respectively). There was no accumulation of M1 but substantial accumulation of M2. In conclusion, there was accumulation and increase in exposure to tramadol and M2, but not M1, during repeated oral administrations in horses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-278
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • veterinary(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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