Use of florfenicol in non-human primates

J Med Primatol. 2004 Jun;33(3):127-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0684.2004.00063.x.


Studies were undertaken to determine if florfenicol, an antimicrobial agent structurally similar to chloramphenicol, could be used as an effective broad spectrum antibiotic for the treatment of bacterial infections in primates. Florfenicol was developed as an injectable antibiotic for use in cattle on an every other day dosing schedule. Its broad spectrum activity, long duration of action following i.m. administration, and its safety as compared with chloramphenicol made it an attractive antibiotic for use in non-human primates. Previous studies had shown that florfenicol is effective against common primate pathogens such as Salmonella, Klebsiella, Escherichia coli, Bordetella bronchiseptica, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus spp., and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. We performed experiments on a total of 15 macaques. The animals were given florfenicol at 50 mg/kg i.m. and blood samples taken at various time points. Serum was evaluated for florfenicol absorption. Necropsies were also performed to determine if major organs were affected and to determine the effects of i.m. injection of florfenicol. We determined that florfenicol given every 48 hours in rhesus macaques results in blood levels that were acceptable for therapeutic use. The effect on muscle tissue of i.m. injection was similar to ketamine and normal saline. There were no gross lesions observed and no changes with tissues submitted for histology. Our work shows that with further studies, florfenicol may be useful when injectable antibiotic therapy is required in non-human primates.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / blood
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Histological Techniques
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Macaca*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Thiamphenicol / administration & dosage*
  • Thiamphenicol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Thiamphenicol / blood
  • Thiamphenicol / pharmacokinetics*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Chloramphenicol
  • florfenicol
  • Thiamphenicol