Pharmacokinetics of yohimbine following intravenous administration to horses

H. K. Dimaio Knych, E. P. Steffey, J. L. Deuel, R. A. Shepard, S. D. Stanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Yohimbine is an alpha 2 adrenergic receptor antagonist used most commonly in veterinary medicine to reverse the effects of the alpha 2 receptor agonists, xylazine and detomidine. Most notably, yohimbine has been shown to counteract the CNS depressant effects of alpha 2 receptor agonists in a number of species. The recent identification of a yohimbine positive urine sample collected from a horse racing in California has led to the investigation of the pharmacokinetics of this compound. Eight healthy adult horses received a single intravenous dose of 0.12 mg/kg yohimbine. Blood samples were collected at time 0 (prior to drug administration) and at various times up to 72 h post drug administration. Plasma samples were analyzed using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and data analyzed using both noncompartmental and compartmental analysis. Peak plasma concentration was 114.5 + 31.8 ng/mL and occurred at 0.09 + 0.03 h. Mean ± SD systemic clearance (Cls) and steady-state volume of distribution (Vdss) were 13.5 + 2.1 mL/min/kg and 3.3 + 1.3 L/kg following noncompartmental analysis. For compartmental analysis, plasma yohimbine vs. time data were best fitted to a two compartment model. Mean ± SD Cls and Vdss of yohimbine were 13.6 ± 2.0 mL/min/kg and 3.2 ± 1.1 L/kg, respectively. Mean ± SD terminal elimination half-life was 4.4 ± 0.9 h following noncompartmental analysis. Immediately following administration, two horses showed signs of sedation, while the other six appeared behaviorally unaffected. Gastrointestinal sounds were moderately increased compared to baseline while fecal consistency appeared normal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-63
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • General Veterinary


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