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Pharmacokinetics and physiological effects of intravenous hydromorphone in conscious dogs


Alonso G. P. Guedes, Department of Veterinary Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, 4474-TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4474, USA. E-mail:


This study evaluated the pharmacokinetics, the sedative and anti-nociceptive effects of intravenous hydromorphone in dogs. Five adult dogs were administered hydromorphone (0.1 mg/kg and 0.2 mg/kg) and morphine (0.5 mg/kg and 1 mg/kg) at weekly intervals. Blood samples were drawn before and at 1, 2, 5, 15, 30, 60 and 120 min after drug administration. Plasma hydromorphone only was measured by high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) with electrochemical detection and pharmacokinetic parameters calculated. Anti-nociceptive and sedation scores were submitted to Kruskal-Wallis one-way anova on ranks and post-hoc Bonferroni test with 5% significance level. The data fitted a two-compartment model with a fast distribution (<1 min for both doses) and slower elimination rate. Mean elimination half-life was 80 ± 52.7 and 57.7 ± 30.4 min for the high and low dose, respectively. The apparent mean volumes of distribution at steady-state were 7.2 ± 3 and 4.5 ± 2.4 L/kg, while the clearance was 74.7 ± 19 and 68.1 ± 20 mL/kg/min for the high and low doses, respectively. Compared to saline, hydromorphone and morphine produced significant anti-nociception and sedation of similar magnitude for 120 min. In conclusion, intravenous hydromorphone has a large volume of distribution, and high clearance rate that exceeds hepatic blood flow. In dogs, it produced mechanical anti-nociception and sedation of a magnitude similar to morphine.