Population pharmacokinetics of rifampin in the treatment of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Asian elephants

J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2015 Apr;38(2):137-43. doi: 10.1111/jvp.12156. Epub 2014 Sep 18.


The objective of this study was to develop a population pharmacokinetic model for rifampin in elephants. Rifampin concentration data from three sources were pooled to provide a total of 233 oral concentrations from 37 Asian elephants. The population pharmacokinetic models were created using Monolix (version 4.2). Simulations were conducted using ModelRisk. We examined the influence of age, food, sex, and weight as model covariates. We further optimized the dosing of rifampin based upon simulations using the population pharmacokinetic model. Rifampin pharmacokinetics were best described by a one-compartment open model including first-order absorption with a lag time and first-order elimination. Body weight was a significant covariate for volume of distribution, and food intake was a significant covariate for lag time. The median Cmax of 6.07 μg/mL was below the target range of 8-24 μg/mL. Monte Carlo simulations predicted the highest treatable MIC of 0.25 μg/mL with the current initial dosing recommendation of 10 mg/kg, based upon a previously published target AUC0-24/MIC > 271 (fAUC > 41). Simulations from the population model indicate that the current dose of 10 mg/kg may be adequate for MICs up to 0.25 μg/mL. While the targeted AUC/MIC may be adequate for most MICs, the median Cmax for all elephants is below the human and elephant targeted ranges.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antitubercular Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antitubercular Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Area Under Curve
  • Elephants / blood*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects*
  • Rifampin / administration & dosage
  • Rifampin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Rifampin / therapeutic use
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis / veterinary*


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Rifampin