12/12/2012 3:05PM

Arkansas, Texas make changes to medication policy

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The Arkansas and Texas racing commissions have both recently made changes to medication policies governing some commonly used therapeutic drugs.

The Arkansas Racing Commission on Tuesday adopted an amendment that lowers the allowable level of phenylbutazone, or bute, in a horse’s system. The new threshold level is 2.0 micrograms per milliliter of blood, said Ron Oliver, executive director for the commission. The previous threshold had been 5.0 micrograms per milliliter of blood except in graded stakes, when the standard was 2.0.

The policy will take effect with the opening of the Oaklawn Park meet on Jan. 11, said Oliver.

Bute is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.

Texas Racing Commission executive director Chuck Trout has instituted threshold levels for 10 therapeutic medications, including the corticosteroid methylprednisolone and the anti-inflammatory drugs dexamethasone and DMSO. The changes have gone into effect in the last month, and were made to bring Texas on par with the permissible medication levels in other states, said Bill Childs, a spokesperson for the commission.

Texas had a batch of eight methylprednisolone positives during Lone Star Park’s recent meet for Quarter Horses, but because the state was in the process of changing its policy on the drug – and the positives were under the new threshold – no rulings were issued to the seven trainers whose horses tested positive, said Childs.

Methylprednisolone now has a threshold level of 100 picograms per milliliter of blood. Dexamethasone has a permissible level of 5 picograms per milliliter of blood, and DMSO 10 micrograms per milliliter of blood.