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To characterize pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of detomidine gel administered sublingually in accordance with label instructions to establish appropriate withdrawal guidelines for horses before competition. 12 adult racehorses. Horses received a single sublingual administration of 0.04 mg of detomidine/kg. Blood samples were collected before and up to 72 hours after drug administration. Urine samples were collected for 5 days after detomidine administration. Plasma and urine samples were analyzed via liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, and resulting data were analyzed by use of noncompartmental analysis. Chin-to-ground distance, heart rate and rhythm, glucose concentration, PCV, and plasma protein concentration were also assessed following detomidine administration. Mean ± SD terminal elimination half-life of detomidine was 1.5 ± 1 hours. Metabolite concentrations were below the limit of detection (0.02, 0.1, and 0.5 ng/mL for detomidine, carboxydetomidine, and hydroxydetomidine, respectively) in plasma by 24 hours. Concentrations of detomidine and its metabolites were below the limit of detection (0.05 ng/mL for detomidine and 0.10 ng/mL for carboxydetomidine and hydroxydetomidine) in urine by 3 days. All horses had various degrees of sedation after detomidine administration. Time of onset was ≤ 40 minutes, and duration of sedation was approximately 2 hours. Significant decreases, relative to values at time 0, were detected for chin-to-ground distance and heart rate. There was an increased incidence and exacerbation of preexisting atrioventricular blocks after detomidine administration. A 48-hour and 3-day withdrawal period for detection in plasma and urine samples, respectively, should be adopted for sublingual administration of detomidine gel.


Heather K Dimaio Knych, Scott D Stanley. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of detomidine following sublingual administration to horses. American journal of veterinary research. 2011 Oct;72(10):1378-85

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PMID: 21962281

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