US Federation Bans Use of Medroxyprogesterone Acetate–Commonly Called “Depo”–in Horses

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Photo: USEF.ora

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, Nov. 13, 2019–Use of the medication medroxyprogesterone acetate–commonly referred to as “depo”–will be prohibited in horses by the U.S. Equestrian Federation that reported Wednesday has been linked to deaths and other life-threatening effects.

Research was reported by the USEF to have found the substance identified as MPA provided “no therapeutic use in competition horses” and will be banned at USEF-licensed competitions effective Dec. 1. However, because of the length of time for MPA to clear a horse’s system, sanctions for a positive test result will not begin until June 1, 2020.

Medroxyprogesterone Acetate with common trade names such as Provera, Dilena, Divina, Enaf, Farlutes, Premelle and Provera, is listed by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) as a “Controlled Medication,” meaning a substance that is regularly used to treat horses but which is “not allowed in competition in order to maintain a level playing field.”

The substance is often used to calm so-called “hot” horses, especially mares and “studish” geldings.

The USEF ban comes almost three years after public meetings to get feedback on the drug’s use and led to a review of research and drug studies.

A USEF-enrolled panel reviewed a recent petition by numerous veterinarians requesting a ban on the use of MPA, “supported by documentation citing 23 fatalities associated with MPA use over the last three years, research on the efficacy of the substance, and the results from the collection of MPA medication reports.”

“The panel determined MPA has no therapeutic use in competition horses,” the USEF said, “as it does not interrupt estrus in mares, which predicated its original use. Additionally, MPA is not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in equines and its use has been reported and documented to be associated with several cases of anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reaction) and fatality. As a result of this analysis, the panel voted unanimously to recommend MPA is added to the list of USEF prohibited substances.”

MPA will be a USEF Category III substance which can incur a penalty of a suspenson of three to six months up to suspension and a fine of $3,000-$6,000 for a first offense.