Papers And Originals

Acetanilide Oxidation in Phenylbutazone-associated Hypoplastic Anaemia

Br Med J 1974; 3 doi: (Published 03 August 1974) Cite this as: Br Med J 1974;3:313
  1. J. L. Cunningham,
  2. M. J. Leyland,
  3. I. W. Delamore,
  4. D. A. Price Evans


    Acetanilide like phenylbutazone is paraoxidized by the liver endoplasmic reticulum as a primary biotransformation step. Both compounds were given at different times to each of 10 healthy volunteer subjects and the plasma disappearances measured. Correlation was shown between plasma clearance values of the two compounds (r = + 0·7067; P < 0·05).

    Eight patients with hypoplastic anaemia after phenylbutazone therapy were investigated. Plasma clearance values and half lives of acetanilide were measured in this group of patients and compared with those of a group of 30 healthy volunteer controls. There was a significant decrease in clearance (P < 0·01) and lengthening of half lives (P < 0·001 in the patients with phenylbutazone-associated hypoplasia. Five patients with idiopathic aplastic anaemia—that is, without history of antecedent phenylbutazone ingestion—were similarly investigated with acetanilide and there was no significant difference between the results in these patients and those in the control group.

    It is suggested that relatively poor paraoxidation of phenylbutazone producing high blood concentrations on a given dose may be a factor responsible for the drug-associated hypoplasia even though it does not explain the similar pattern of adverse reactions reported in association with oral administration of the metabolite oxyphenbutazone.