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Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 Aug 2022 - 2 Sep 2022

Pharmacology/Drug Development

2022 Sep

Vet Anim Sci


A Critical Review on the Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics of Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs and Opioid Drugs Used in Reptiles.


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids are analgesics used for moderate to severe pain in many animals, including reptiles. However, reptilian dosing regimens are often extrapolated from other animal species. This is not ideal as inter- and intra-species variability in physiology may result in varied drug disposition. Therefore, this critical review aims to collate data from pharmacological studies of selected NSAIDs and opioids performed in reptile and provide an analysis and discussion on the existing pharmacodynamic knowledge and pharmacokinetic data of NSAIDs and opioids use in reptiles. Additionally, key pharmacokinetic trends that may aid dosing of NSAIDs and opioids in reptiles will also be highlighted. Most of the existing reports of NSAID used in reptiles did not observe any adverse effects directly associated to the respective NSAID used, with meloxicam being the most well-studied. Despite the current absence of analgesic efficacy studies for NSAIDs in reptiles, most reports observed behavioural improvements in reptiles after NSAID treatment. Fentanyl and morphine were studied in the greatest number of reptile species with analgesic effects observed with the doses used, while adverse effects such as sedation were observed most with butorphanol use. While pharmacokinetic trends were drug- and species-specific, it was observed that clearance (CL) of drugs tended to be higher in squamates compared to chelonians. The half-life (t) of meloxicam also appeared to be longer when dosed orally compared to other routes of drug administration. This could have been due to absorption-rate limited disposition. Although current data provided beneficial information, there is an urgent need for future research on NSAID and opioid pharmacology to ensure the safe and effective use of opioids in reptiles.