Journal of veterinary pharmacology and therapeutics2021; 44(6); 937-944; doi: 10.1111/jvp.13007

Pharmacokinetics of thiamine (vitamin B1) in adult horses after administration of three single intravenous doses.

Abstract: Thiamine is a vital co-factor for several anti-inflammatory and antioxidant processes that are critical for mitigation of sepsis-associated inflammation, but pharmacokinetic (PK) analysis has not been reported in horses. We hypothesized that IV thiamine hydrochloride (TH) at increasing dosages would result in corresponding increases in plasma thiamine concentrations without causing adverse effects. A randomized cross-over study was performed in 9 healthy horses that each received TH at 5, 10, and 20 mg/kg IV. Blood was collected immediately prior to drug administration and at several time points thereafter. High-performance liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry was used to quantify thiamine concentrations at each time point. Non-compartmental PK methods showed that IV TH resulted in supraphysiologic plasma concentrations with a short half-life (0.77-1.12 h) and no adverse clinical signs were observed. The terminal rate constant decreased as the dosage increased (p < .0001) and clearance significantly decreased at the 20 mg/kg dosage (p = .0011). The area under the curve (AUC) increased in a non-linear fashion. These findings suggest that thiamine follows non-linear elimination kinetics in horses, which is likely due to saturation of renal elimination. Future studies are needed to identify therapeutic plasma concentrations and develop thiamine dosing recommendations for horses.
Publication Date: 2021-08-18 PubMed ID: 34407222DOI: 10.1111/jvp.13007Google Scholar: Lookup
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  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Veterinary


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The research article focuses on studying the effects of varying doses of thiamine, also known as Vitamin B1, on adult horses when administered intravenously. The study primarily analyses the pharmacokinetics of thiamine, observing how the body processes and eliminates the substance.

Research Methodology

  • The research was based on a randomized cross-over study involving nine healthy horses, each receiving three different doses of Thiamine Hydrochloride (TH). The doses were administered intravenously at concentrations of 5, 10, and 20 mg/kg.
  • Blood samples were taken immediately before the drug was administered and at several subsequent time points, to measure the concentration of thiamine in the plasma.
  • The researchers employed the use of High-Performance Liquid Chromatography coupled with Mass Spectrometry to accurately measure thiamine concentrations at each time point.

Results of the Study

  • The study revealed that injecting the horses with TH resulted in supraphysiologic plasma concentrations. However, thiamine had a short half-life of approximately 0.77-1.12 hours in the plasma, meaning it was removed from the body fairly quickly.
  • Despite the high concentrations of thiamine in the blood, no adverse effects or signs of toxicity were observed in the subjects.
  • The study also found that as the dosage of TH increased, the rate at which the thiamine was eliminated from the body started to decrease, indicating a possible saturation of renal elimination, i.e., the kidneys’ capacity to remove the compound was being maxed out.
  • Additionally, the Area Under the Curve (AUC – a measure of exposure of the body to the drug) was found to increase in a non-linear fashion, indicating non-linear elimination kinetics for thiamine.

Conclusions and Future Directions

  • The research concluded that thiamine’s elimination seems to follow non-linear kinetics in horses, most likely due to saturation of renal elimination when administered at high doses.
  • The findings suggest a need for further studies to identify therapeutic plasma concentrations and develop effective dosing recommendations for thiamine in horses.

Cite This Article

Hess EK, Reinhart JM, Anderson MJ, Jannasch AS, Taylor SD. (2021). Pharmacokinetics of thiamine (vitamin B1) in adult horses after administration of three single intravenous doses. J Vet Pharmacol Ther, 44(6), 937-944.


ISSN: 1365-2885
NlmUniqueID: 7910920
Country: England
Language: English
Volume: 44
Issue: 6
Pages: 937-944

Researcher Affiliations

Hess, Emily K
  • Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA.
Reinhart, Jennifer M
  • Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA.
Anderson, Melinda J
  • Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA.
Jannasch, Amber S
  • Bindley Bioscience Center, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA.
Taylor, Sandra D
  • Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA.

MeSH Terms

  • Administration, Intravenous / veterinary
  • Animals
  • Area Under Curve
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Half-Life
  • Horses
  • Thiamine

Grant Funding

  • United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture


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