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Van Duijkeren, E., Vulto, A.G., van Miert, A.S.J.P.A.M. Trimethoprim/sulfonamide combinations in the horse: a review. J. vet. Pharmacol. Therap. 17, 64–73.

The indications for use, side-effects, and pharmacokinetic parameters of trimethoprim, sulfonamides and their combinations in the horse are reviewed. Trimethoprim/sulfonamide (TMPS) combinations are used for the treatment of various diseases caused by gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, including infections of the respiratory tract, urogenital tract, alimentary tract, skin Joints and wounds- TMPS combinations can be administered orally, since absorption from the gastrointestinal tract is relatively good. However, peak serum concentrations can vary significantly between individual horses. Feed intake affects serum concentrations after oral administration. Concentrations of non-bound trimethoprim (TMP) and sulfadiazine (SDZ) in synovial fluid and peritoneal fluid are equal to serum concentrations after intravenous (i.v.) administration, and high concentrations are found in urine. Concentrations of TMP and sulfamethoxazole (SMX) in cerebrospinal fluid after i.v. administration exceed the minimum inhibitory concentration for common equine pathogens. The volume of distribution is 1.5-2.71/kg for TMP and 0.3-0.7 1/kg for various sulfonamides. The plasma half-life of TMP is 1.9-4.3 h, whereas the plasma half-lives of the different sulfonamides vary between 2.7 and 14.0 h. About 50% of total TMP is bound to plasma proteins. The binding of sulfadox-ine to plasma proteins depends on total plasma concentration and varies between 14% and 72%. The binding of other sulfonamides to plasma proteins may range from 33% for sulfaphenazole (SPZ) to 93% for sulfadimethoxine (SDM). Sulfonamides are metabolized by acetylation of the para-amino (N4) group and by hydroxylation of the methyl group and the pyrimidine ring. The metabolic pathways of TMP in the horse are not fully known. Bacterial resistance to TMPS combinations is still relatively low. The sensitivity of different micro-organisms may vary with the relative activity of the sulfonamide used in the combination. The advised oral and i.v. dose rate is 15–30 mg/kg (in a 1:5 TMP/S ratio) with a dose interval of 12 h. The acute toxicity of TMPS is low, but there have been several reports of death after i.v. administration, probably due to vagal stimulation and subsequent bradycardia and vasodilatation caused by the pharmaceutical formulation (excipients, solvents) used. Future research should concentrate on establishing the optimum pyrimidine/sulfonamide combination and its dosing regimen for antimicrobial therapy in horses.