Pharmacokinetics of maropitant citrate after oral administration of multiple doses in adult horses

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The neurokinin-1 (NK-1) receptor antagonist, maropitant citrate, mitigates nausea and vomiting in dogs and cats. Nausea is poorly understood in horses, and clinical use of NK-1 receptor antagonists has not been reported. This study aimed to determine the pharmacokinetics and safety of maropitant after administration of multiple doses. We hypothesized that maropitant concentrations would be similar at steady state to those reported in dogs, with minimal adverse effects. Maropitant was administered at 4 mg/kg orally, once daily for 5 days in seven adult horses. Serial plasma maropitant concentrations were measured by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Noncompartmental pharmacokinetic parameters were determined. The maximum, minimum, and average concentrations of maropitant achieved at steady state were 375.5 ± 200, 16.8 ± 7.7, and 73.5 ± 45.1 ng/ml, respectively. The terminal elimination half-life was 11.6 ± 1.4 hr, and the accumulation index was 1.3 ± 0.07. Heart rate decreased between Day 1 and Day 5 (p =.005), with three horses having heart rates of 20 beats per minute and atrioventricular block on Day 5. Pharmacokinetics of repeated maropitant administration suggests the drug could be considered for use in healthy horses. Further investigation on the clinical relevancy of its cardiac effects is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • Analgesia
  • equine
  • gastrointestinal
  • heart
  • nausea
  • neurokinin-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • veterinary(all)


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