Pharmacokinetics of multiple doses of chloramphenicol in fed adult horses

K. E. Estell, H. K. Knych, T. Patel, J. M. Edman, K. G. Magdesian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


To the authors’ knowledge, there have been no studies evaluating the pharmacokinetics of chloramphenicol administered orally to horses at the currently recommended dose of 50 mg/kg PO q6 h for multiple days. The published antimicrobial susceptibility breakpoint is 8.0 ug/mL; it is unknown if this concentration is achievable at the recommended dose rate in horses. The aim of this prospective multi-dose pharmacokinetic study was to perform pharmacokinetic analysis of chloramphenicol after multiple doses. The authors hypothesize that the antimicrobial susceptibility breakpoint will not be reached. Seven healthy adult horses were administered 50 mg/kg chloramphenicol base tablets PO q6 h for 4 days. Blood was collected via venipuncture daily at 4 and 6 h after administration for the first 15 doses. After the 16th dose, an IV catheter was aseptically placed in the right jugular vein and blood was collected at regular intervals for pharmacokinetic analysis. Maximum chloramphenicol concentration was variable between horses (2.1–42.7 μg/mL). The highest average chloramphenicol concentration was just below the susceptibility breakpoint at 7.7 ug/mL while the lowest was well below the breakpoint at 1.5 ug/mL. On average, the time above 8.0 μg/mL was 75 min, considerably less than the recommended 50% of the dosing interval. When chloramphenicol is administered at a dose of 50 mg/kg PO q6 h in horses, the highest reliably achievable steady state concentration for at least half of the dosing interval is 2.0 μg/mL. The established susceptibility breakpoint of 8.0 ug/mL is not achievable in adult horses, and should be re-evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105446
JournalVeterinary Journal
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Antibiotic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Equine
  • Minimum inhibitory concentration
  • Susceptibility breakpoint

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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