Actions and pharmacokinetic properties of the alpha ...

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Title Actions and pharmacokinetic properties of the alpha 2-adrenergic agents, medetomidine and atipamezole, in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
Author(s) T. E. Horsberg, John F. Burka, R. Andrew R. Tasker
Journal Journal of Veterinary Anaesthesia
Date 1999
Volume 26
Issue
Start page 18
End page 22
Abstract Medetomidine proved to be an effective sedative in rainbow trout but not an anaesthetic; its effects were antagonized by atipamezole. The clinical signs of medetomidine sedation were rapid settling to the bottom of the tank followed by progressive ataxia. The sedative effect was dose-dependent: at 1 mg/litre, 1 of 6 fish rested on its side after 10 min, whereas at 20 mg/litre all 6 rested on their sides. No loss of consciousness occurred. Atipamezole at 6 times the medetomidine concentration antagonized sedation. The average time before fish exposed to medetomidine alone showed avoidance reactions was 10 h, more than 5 times longer than the mean time in fish exposed to medetomidine and then atipamezole. During exposure to medetomidine (5 mg/litre) opercular movement rate decreased from 80/min to 20/min. The nature of opercular excursions also changed from being rapid and shallow to slow and deep. Respiratory movements increased after transfer to the bath containing atipamezole. Medetomidine had a marked effect upon skin colour, with fish becoming very pale a few min after exposure. Normal pigmentation was not restored until 4.5 days after exposure to medetomidine alone, but returned to normal after 10 min exposure to atipamezole solution. The half-life for medetomidine was 5.5 h and for atipamezole it was 8.6 h..

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