USEF Issues Notice on Dexamethasone, Methocarbamol Use

On June 17 the United State Equestrian Federation (USEF) issued the following notice on the use of the drugs dexamethasone and methocarbamol:

In 2014 a new category of rules, GR 414 Prohibited Practices, was introduced to the USEF Rule Book with an effective date of December 1, 2013. Implementation of this rule affected changes to the administration of the following quantitatively restricted therapeutic medications in competition:

  • Dexamethasone (marketed as Azium)—Maximum 24-hour dose has been decreased from 20 milligrams/1,000-pound horse to 10 milligrams/1,000-pound horse and must be administered in accordance with GR 414.
  • Ketoprofen (marketed as Ketofen)—Maximum 24-hour dose of 1 gram/1,000-pound horse remains the same, however it must not be administered within 12 hours prior to competition.
  • Methocarbamol (marketed as Robaxin)—Maximum 12-hour of dose 5 grams/1,000-pound horse remains the same, however must not be administered within 12 hours prior to competition.

In the first half of 2014, to facilitate a compliance transition and to educate competitors regarding the appropriate therapeutic use of these medications in competition, the chair of the USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Committee (with the approval of the USEF Hearing Committee) issued a warning to the trainer if excessive levels of methocarbamol or dexamethasone were detected.

However, please be advised that going forward, any sample taken on July 1, 2014, or after that results in a positive finding for excessive methocarbamol or dexamethasone will be adjudicated through the normal regulatory process which may result in issuing a penalty.

For your convenience and review, recommendations for the administration of both of these medications is summarized here:

Dexamethasone: Each 24 hours, not more than 1 milligrams of dexamethasone injectable solution per 100 pounds of body weight should be administered intravenously, intramuscularly, or orally. For a 1,000-pound animal, the maximum daily intravenous or intramuscular dose of dexamethasone injectable solution is 10 milligrams, which equals 2.5 milliliters of the injectable solution (4 milligrams per milliliter). No part of this dose should be administered during the 12 hours prior to competing. Dexamethasone should not be administered for more than five successive days.

Dexamethasone emergency alternative for urticaria (hives): This alternative dose for dexamethasone can only be administered by a licensed veterinarian for the treatment of hives. A medication report form must be filed consistent with GR 411. The filing of a medication report form is required to document compliance with the new 12-hour rule prohibiting injections in the 12-hour period prior to competing.

Each 24 hours, not more than 0.5 milligrams of dexamethasone injectable solution per 100 pounds of body weight should be administered intravenously, preferably less. For a 1,000-pound animal, the maximum daily intravenous dose of dexamethasone injectable solution is 5 milligrams, which equals 1.25 milliliters of the injectable solution (4 milligrams per milliliter). No part of this dose should be administered during the six hours prior to competing. Dexamethasone should not be administered for more than five successive days.

Methocarbamol: Whenever methocarbamol is administered, the dose should be accurately calculated according to the actual weight of the horse or pony. Each 12 hours, not more than 5 milligrams per pound of body weight should be administered, preferably less. For a 1,000-pound animal, the maximum dose each 24 hours is 5 grams, which equals ten 500 milligram tablets or 50 cc of the injectable (100 milligrams per milliliter). No dose should be administered during the 24 hours immediately following the prior dose.

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