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The pharmacokinetics of cytarabine in dogs when administered via subcutaneous and continuous intravenous infusion routes


Peter J. Early, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology), Department of Clinical Sciences, North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, 1060 William Moore Drive, Raleigh, NC 27607, USA. E-mail:


This crossover study compared the pharmacokinetics of cytarabine in six healthy dogs following intravenous constant rate infusion (CRI) and subcutaneous (SC) administrations, as these are two routes of administration commonly employed in the treatment of meningoencephalitis of unknown etiology. Each dog received a SC cytarabine injection of 50 mg/m2 or an 8 h CRI of 25 mg/m2 per hour, with a 7-day washout before receiving the alternative treatment. Blood samples were collected for 16 h after CRI initiation and for 8 h after SC injection. Plasma concentrations were measured by high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). Pharmacokinetic parameters were estimated using the best-fit compartmental analysis for both CRI and SC routes. Terminal half-life (T½) of cytarabine was 1.35 ± 0.3 and 1.15 ± 0.13 h after SC administration and CRI, respectively. Mean peak concentration (Cmax) was 2.88 and 2.80 μg/mL for SC and CRI administration, respectively. Volume of distribution was 0.66 ± 0.07 l/kg. The 8-h CRI produced steady-state plasma concentrations as determined by consecutive measurement that did not decline until the end of the infusion. The SC administration did not achieve steady-state concentrations because cytarabine administered by this route was rapidly absorbed and eliminated quickly. The steady state achieved with the cytarabine CRI may produce a more prolonged exposure of cytarabine at cytotoxic levels in plasma compared to the concentrations after SC administration.