Lidocaine in the Horse: Its Pharmacological Effects and Their Relationship to Analytical Findings

J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 1998 Dec;21(6):462-76. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2885.1998.00165.x.


Lidocaine is a local anaesthetic agent that is widely used in equine medicine. It is also an Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) Class 2 foreign substance that may cause regulators to impose substantial penalties if residues are identified in post race urine samples. Therefore, an analytical/pharmacological database was developed for this drug. Using our abaxial sesamoid local anaesthetic model, the highest no-effect dose (HNED) for the local anaesthetic effect of lidocaine was determined to be 4 mg. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) screening, administration of the HNED of lidocaine to eight horses yielded peak serum and urine concentrations of apparent lidocaine of 0.84 ng/mL at 30 min and 72.8 ng/mL at 60 min after injection, respectively. These concentrations of apparent lidocaine are readily detectable by routine ELISA screening tests (LIDOCAINE ELISA, Neogen, Lexington, KY). ELISA screening does not specifically identify lidocaine or its metabolites, which include 3-hydroxylidocaine, dimethylaniline, 4-hydroxydimethylaniline, monoethylglycinexylidine, 3-hydroxymonoethylglycinexylidine, and glycinexylidine. As 3-hydroxylidocaine is the major metabolite recovered from equine urine, it was synthesized, purified and characterized, and a quantitative mass spectrometric method was developed for 3-hydroxylidocaine as recovered from horse urine. Following subcutaneous (s.c.) injection of the HNED of lidocaine, the concentration of 3-hydroxylidocaine recovered from urine reached a peak of about 315 ng/mL at 1 h after administration. The mean pH of the 1 h post dosing urine samples was 7. 7, and there was no apparent effect of pH on the amount of 3-hydroxylidocaine recovered. Within the context of these experiments, the data suggests that recovery of less than 315 ng/mL of 3-hydroxylidocaine from a post race urine sample is unlikely to be associated with a recent local anaesthetic effect of lidocaine. Therefore these data may be of assistance to industry professionals in evaluating the significance of small concentrations of lidocaine or its metabolites in postrace urine samples. It should be noted that the quantitative data are based on analytical methods developed specifically for this study, and that methods used by other laboratories may yield different recoveries of urine 3-hydroxylidocaine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage
  • Anesthetics, Local / pharmacokinetics*
  • Animals
  • Chromatography
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / standards
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / veterinary*
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Horses / blood
  • Horses / metabolism*
  • Horses / urine
  • Injections, Subcutaneous / veterinary
  • Lidocaine / administration & dosage
  • Lidocaine / analogs & derivatives
  • Lidocaine / chemistry
  • Lidocaine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Random Allocation
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • 3-hydroxylidocaine
  • Lidocaine
  • monoethylglycinexylidide