USEF Drug and Medication Group Clarifies Liniment Status

Recently, there have been some questions directed to the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Equine Drugs and Medications Program related to the use of liniments. The specific liniments in question are:

Equi-Block Liniments by Miracle Corp.

Ingredients: Menthol (3%), Purified Water, Isopropyl Alcohol, Chamomile Extract, Polysorbate 80, Olibanum Extract, Rosemary Oil, Capsicum Oleoresin, Carbomer, Trolamine, Methylparaben.

Thermaflex Liniment Gel by VitaFlex

Ingredients: Menthol 4.0%, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Plant Extracts of Calendula and Rosemary, Oil of Cajuput (Melaleuca Leucadendron), Other Ingredients include: Alcohol, Water, Thickeners, Benzyl Nicotinate, FD&C Yellow #5 and FD&C Blue #1.

Vetrolin Liniment by Farnam

Ingredients: Alcohol, Water, Green Soap, Camphor, Oil of Sassafras, Oil of Spike, Methyl Salicylate, Oil of Cedarwood, Oil of Rosemary and Oil of Thyme.

(Forbidden substances are noted in italics.)

The classification of these substances as forbidden is neither a new policy nor a recent development. Some of the ingredients in the above listed liniments have been forbidden substances for more than 20 years. These substances, and products containing them, are classified as forbidden because of their potential actions on various body systems when administered intravenously, intramuscularly, subcutaneously or orally. However, when used topically and as recommended by their manufacturers, these products have not been associated with a positive by the federation.

As a practical matter, provided the products containing these substances are administered only topically and as recommended by the manufacturer, there is no need for restricting their use during competitions under USEF rules. However, if these substances are used inappropriately (e.g., in a manner other than topically), this could result in a positive finding in the blood or urine of the horse, which would be a potential violation of the rules.

One exception is the substance capsaicin and closely related analogues (e.g., Capsicum Oleoresin as found in Equi-Block). There were four drug violations associated with the detection of capsaicin in the blood following topical administration at the 2008 Olympic Games (read more). Neither of these substances or other capsaicin derivatives should be used topically in any poultice or liniment within the 7 days preceding competition.

It is important to note that many preparations produced for the equine market routinely have their formulations changed without any published notice. It is for this reason that the USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Program typically does not comment on products by name, but requests lists of ingredients. It would be irresponsible for the USEF to list name brand products as forbidden or permitted as there is no control or notification of changes in their ingredients.

Please contact the Equine Drugs and Medications Program office by phone 800/633-2472 or by e-mail at medequestrian@aol.com if there are any questions regarding additional liniments than those addressed above.

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