FEI to Add GABA, Hydroxy-GABA to Prohibited Substance List

The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has warned its member national federations against the use of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and hydroxy-gamma aminobutyric acid (Hydroxy-GABA), following advice from the FEI List Group. The warning has been issued outside the List Group's usual annual review process.

GABA and Hydroxy-GABA are ingredients in a commercial product sold in the United States under the trade name Carolina Gold. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) banned its use in February following documented adverse reactions in horses.

National federations were advised last month in an email alert from FEI Veterinary Director Graeme Cooke, MA, VetMB, MRCVS, that any request to an FEI official and/or veterinary delegate to administer a substance containing GABA or Hydroxy-GABA at an FEI event would not be permitted, starting April 27.

GABA and Hydroxy-GABA will now be added to the FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List as a Banned Substance and, following the 90-day implementation period as provided for in the Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication rules, will be subject to sanctions.

The two substances were brought to the attention of the FEI List Group, the expert group tasked with determining which substances should be included on the FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List and in which category (Banned or Controlled Medication), primarily by the USEF.

The 2012 Equine Prohibited Substances List can be accessed via the FEI Equine Prohibited Substances Database, which is free to download for smartphones.

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