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definitions - Phenylbutazone

phenylbutazone (n.)

1.anti-inflammatory drug (trade name Butazolidin)

Phenylbutazone (n.)

1.(MeSH)A butyl-diphenyl-pyrazolidinedione that has anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and analgesic activities. It has been used in ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS; RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS; and REACTIVE ARTHRITIS.

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synonyms - Phenylbutazone

phenylbutazone (n.)


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Systematic (IUPAC) name
Clinical data
Trade names Butazolidine
Pregnancy cat.  ?
Legal status Prescription only
CAS number 50-33-9 YesY
ATC code M01AA01 M02AA01
PubChem CID 4781
DrugBank DB00812
ChemSpider 4617 YesY
KEGG D00510 YesY
ChEBI CHEBI:48574 YesY
Chemical data
Formula C19H20N2O2 
Mol. mass 308.374 g/mol
 YesY (what is this?)  (verify)

Phenylbutazone, often referred to as bute,[1] is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for the short-term treatment of pain and fever in animals. In the United States, it is no longer approved for human use.



  In humans

Phenylbutazone was originally made available for use in humans for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and gout in 1949. However, it is no longer approved, and therefore not marketed, for any human use in the United States.[2]

  In horses

Phenylbutazone is commonly used in horses for the following purposes:

  History of phenylbutazone in racing

In the 1968 Kentucky Derby, Dancer's Image, the winner of the race, was disqualified after traces of phenylbutazone were discovered in a postrace urinalysis. Owned by prominent Massachusetts businessman Peter Fuller and ridden by jockey Bobby Ussery, Dancer's Image remains the only horse to win the Kentucky Derby and then be disqualified. Phenylbutazone was legal on most tracks around the United States in 1968, but had not yet been approved by Churchill Downs.

Controversy and speculation still surround the incident. In the weeks prior to the race, Peter Fuller had given previous winnings to Coretta Scott King, the widow of slain civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., which brought both praise and criticism. The previous year, King held a sit-in against housing discrimination which disrupted Derby week. Forty years later, Fuller still believes Dancer's Image was disqualified due to these events.[3][4]

After many appeals, though, Forward Pass was named the winner, the Kentucky Derby official website lists both Dancer's Image and Forward Pass as the winner. The website's race video commentary states that on the winner's plaque at Churchill Downs, both Dancer's Image and Forward Pass are listed as the 1968 winner of the Kentucky Derby.[5]

  In dogs

Phenylbutazone is occasionally used in dogs for the longer-term management of chronic pain, particularly due to osteoarthritis. About 20% of adult dogs are affected with osteoarthritis, which makes the management of musculoskeletal pain a major component of companion animal practice. The margin of safety for all NSAIDs is narrow in the dog, and other NSAIDs are more commonly used (etodolac, and carprofen). Gastrointestinal-protectant drugs, such as misoprostol, cimetidine, omeprazole, ranitidine, or sucralfate, are frequently included as a part of treatment with any NSAID. Dogs receiving chronic phenylbutazone therapy should be followed with regular blood work and renal monitoring.[6]

Side effects of phenylbutazone in dogs include gastrointestinal (GI) ulceration, bone marrow depression, rashes, malaise, blood dyscrasias, and diminished renal blood flow.

  Dosage and administration

Phenylbutazone may be administered orally (via paste, powder or feed-in) or intravenously. It should not be given intramuscularly or injected in any place other than a vein, as it can cause tissue damage. Tissue damage and edema may also occur if the drug is injected repetitively into the same vein.

Phenylbutazone should be administered only under the advice of a veterinarian.

  Side effects and disadvantages

Side effects of phenylbutazone are similar to those of other NSAIDs. Overdose or prolonged use can cause GI ulcers, blood dyscrasia, kidney damage, oral lesions, and internal hemorrhage, especially pronounced in young, ill, or stressed horses. Effects of GI damage include edema of the legs and belly secondary to leakage of blood proteins into the intestines, resulting in decreased appetite, excessive thirst, weight loss, weakness, and in advanced stages, kidney failure and death.

Phenylbutazone should not be used in combination with antiplatelet drugs (e.g., coumadin or warfarin), as it amplifies the anticoagulant effects of these drugs; with other NSAIDs (all NSAIDs are additive); or in horses with known kidney or liver problems. Phenylbutazone displaces warfarin from plasma binding sites and toxic blood levels leading to haemorrhage can occur.

Periodic blood tests are recommended when using phenylbutazone, as agranulocytosis can occur.

Phenylbutazone should be used cautiously in pregnant or nursing mares, as it may be toxic to the embryo and can be transferred via the umbilical cord and by milk.

Phenylbutazone may be used in foals, but it should be used with particular caution. Premature foals, septicemic foals, foals with questionable kidney or liver function and foals with diarrhea require careful monitoring. Drugs to protect the GI tract such as omeprazole, cimetidine, and sucralfate are frequently used with phenylbutazone.

High doses of phenylbutazone may be considered a rules violation under some equestrian organizations, as the drug may remain in the bloodstream four to five days after administration.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer places it in Group 3; i.e., "not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans".

Use in horses is limited to those not intended for food. Metabolites of phenylbutazone can cause aplastic anaemia in humans.[7][8]


Other anti-inflammatory drugs that tend to cause GI ulcers, such as corticosteroids and other NSAIDs, can potentiate the bleeding risk. Combination with anticoagulant drugs, particularly coumarin derivatives, also increases the risk of bleeding. Avoid combining with other hepatotoxic drugs.

Phenylbutazone may affect blood levels and duration of action of phenytoin, valproic acid, sulfonamides, sulfonylurea antidiabetic agents, barbiturates, promethazine, rifampicin, chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine, and penicillin G.[9]


Overdoses of phenylbutazone can cause renal failure, liver injury, bone marrow suppression, and gastric ulceration or perforation. Early signs of toxicity include loss of appetite, and depression.[9]


Phenylbutazone is a crystalline substance. It is obtained by condensation of diethyl n-butylmalonate with hydrazobenzene in the presence of base. In effect, this represents the formation of the heterocyclic system by simple lactamization.

Oxyphenbutazone, the major metabolite of phenylbutazone, differs only in the para location of one of its phenyl groups, where a hydrogen atom is replaced by a hydroxyl group (making it 4-butyl-1-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-2-phenyl-3,5-pyrazolidinedione).




All translations of Phenylbutazone

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