Background: First-generation cephalosporins have good activity against gram-positive bacteria and are extensively used in horses. There are few reports of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) analysis of cephalosporins in horses. Objective: To optimise the dosages of the two first-generation cephalosporins cephalothin (CET) and cefazolin (CEZ) in horses using PK/PD concepts. Study design: Experimental study with single administration. Methods: Drug plasma concentrations following a single intravenous (i.v.) administration of 22 mg/kg bodyweight (bwt) CET in 12 horses and of 10 mg/kg bwt CEZ in six horses were measured using LC-MS/MS. Data were modelled using a nonlinear mixed effect modelling followed by Monte Carlo simulations. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) against Streptococcus zooepidemicus and Staphylococcus aureus isolated from horses were determined by the microbroth dilution method. Results: The percentages of CET and CEZ binding to serum proteins were 19.9% ± 8.4% and 15.2% ± 8.5% respectively. For both CET and CEZ, the MIC90 against S. zooepidemicus was 0.12 mg/L and against S. aureus was 0.5 mg/L. For CET, to achieve a probability of target attainment (PTA) of 90% for a PK/PD target of a free serum plasma concentration exceeding the MIC90 for 40% of the dosing interval, an empirical CET dosage regimen of 22 mg/kg bwt q8h and 22 mg/kg bwt q4h i.v. administration were required for S. zooepidemicus and S. aureus respectively. For CEZ, the corresponding dosage regimens were 10 mg/kg bwt q12h and 10 mg/kg bwt q8h. Main limitations: Small sample size only in healthy horses. Conclusions: For CET, more frequent administration than that currently recommended (22 mg/kg bwt q6–12h) is required to empirically control S. aureus infection in horses. For CEZ, less frequent administration compared to the dosage regimen currently proposed (10–22 mg/kg bwt q6h) could control S. zooepidemicus and S. aureus infections in horses.
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