Pharmacokinetics of hydroxyzine and cetirizine following oral administration of hydroxyzine to exercised Thoroughbred horses

Heather K. Knych, Daniel Weiner, Stacy Steinmetz, Katherine Flynn, Daniel S. McKemie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Hydroxyzine is a first-generation antihistamine and cetirizine, a second-generation antihistamine and active metabolite of hydroxyzine. Hydroxyzine is commonly used in performance horses and as such its use in closely regulated; however, there are no published studies suitable for establishing appropriate regulatory recommendations. In the current study, 12 exercised Thoroughbred research horses received a single oral administration of 500 mg of hydroxyzine. Blood and urine samples were collected prior to and up to 96 hr postdrug administration and concentrations of hydroxyzine and cetirizine determined using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. A joint parent/metabolite population 2-compartment pharmacokinetic model with first-order absorption and elimination was utilized to describe the pharmacokinetics of both compounds. Serum hydroxyzine and cetirizine concentrations were above the limit of quantitation (0.1 ng/ml) of the assay at 96 hr (the last time point sampled). The terminal half-life was 7.41 and 7.13 hr for hydroxyzine and cetirizine, respectively. Findings from this study suggest that a prolonged withdrawal time should be observed if this compound is used in performance administered to performance horses and is classified as prohibited substance by the applicable regulatory body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • cetirizine
  • hydroxyzine
  • pharmacokinetic modeling,metabolism
  • racehorse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • veterinary(all)


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