Diclazuril in the horse: Its identification and detection and preliminary pharmacokinetics

L. Dirikolu, F. Lehner, C. Nattrass, B. G. Bentz, W. E. Woods, W. G. Carter, W. Karpiesiuk, J. Jacobs, J. Boyles, J. D. Harkins, D. E. Granstrom, T. Tobin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Diclazuril (4-chlorophenyl [2,6-dichloro-4-(4,5-dihydro-3H-3,5-dioxo-1,2,4-triazin-2-yl)phenyl] acetonitrile), is a benzeneacetonitrile antiprotozoal agent (Janssen Research Compound R 64433) marketed as Clinacox®. Diclazuril may have clinical application in the treatment of Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM). To evaluate its bioavailability and preliminary pharmacokinetics in the horse we developed a sensitive quantitative high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) method for diclazuril in equine biological fluids. MS/MS analysis of diclazuril in our HPLC solvent yielded mass spectral data consistent with the presence of diclazuril. After a single oral dose of diclazuril at 2.5 g/450 kg (as 500 g Clinacox®), plasma samples from four horses showed good plasma concentrations of diclazuril which peaked at 1.077 ± 0.174 μg/mL (mean ± SEM) with an apparent plasma half-life of about 43 h. When this dose of Clinacox® was administered daily for 21 days to two horses, mean steady state plasma concentrations of 7-9 μg/mL were attained. Steady-state levels in the CSF ranged between 100 and 250 ng/mL. There was no detectable parent diclazuril in the urine samples of dosed horses by HPLC or by routine postrace thin layer chromatography (TLC). These results show that diclazuril is absorbed after oral administration and attains steady-state concentrations in plasma and CSF. The steady state concentrations attained in CSF are more than sufficient to interfere with Sarcocystis neurona, whose proliferation is reportedly 95% inhibited by concentrations of diclazuril as low as 1 ng/mL. These results are therefore entirely consistent with and support the reported clinical efficacy of diclazuril in the treatment of clinical cases of EPM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-379
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • General Veterinary


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