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Racing Medication Information

Types of tests and classifications of medications

Types of Tests
Certified testing facilities use a wide range of testing procedures to ensure integrity within the sport.  Here is information on a few of the tests:

The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test has a limit of detection of 1 nanogram per milliliter (one nanogram is one billionth of a gram). It uses a type of enzyme test to detect substances in a liquid sample.The ELISA test has very good specificity and sensitivity, but a higher cost of testing.  

This testing method has a 100 nanograms/mL limit of detection and can look for a wide array of drugs in a single run. The substance being tested is placed on a plate holding absorbent material, then has a solvent applied to identify compounds. The test is simple and relatively inexpensive, but not as sensitive as other tests may be.

Mass spectral testing methods have a 25 picogram/mL limit of detection (one picogram is one trillionth of a gram). This testing method creates a “molecular fingerprint” and is extremely sensitive and specific and very reliable. However the cost of the machinery required to do these tests runs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.It also requires specially trained technicians.

Classification Definitions of Drugs and Medications

Class 1: Stimulant and depressant drugs that have the highest potential to affect performance and that have no generally accepted medical use in the racing horse.  Many of these agents are Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) schedule II substances.  These include the following drugs and their metabolites:  Opiates, opium derivatives, synthetic opioids and psychoactive drugs, amphetamines and amphetamine-like drugs as well as related drugs, including but not limited to apomorphine, nikethamide, mazindol, pemoline, and pentylenetetrazol.  Though not used as therapeutic agents, all DEA Schedule 1 agents are included in Class 1 because they are potent stimulant or depressant substances with psychotropic and often have habituative actions.

Class 2: Drugs that have a high potential to affect performance, but less of a potential than drugs in Class 1.  These drugs are 1) not generally accepted as therapeutic agents in racing horses, or 2) they are therapeutic agents that have a high potential for abuse.  Drugs in this class include: psychotropic drugs, certain nervous system and cardiovascular system stimulants, depressants, and neuromuscular blocking agents.  Injectable local anesthetics are included in this class because of their high potential for abuse as nerve blocking agents.

Class 3: Drugs that may or may not have generally accepted medical use in the racing horse, but the pharmacology of which suggests less potential to affect performance than drugs in Class 2.  Drugs in this class include bronchodilators, anabolic steroids and other drugs with primary effects on the autonomic nervous system, procaine, antihistamines with sedative properties and the high-ceiling diuretics.

Class 4: This class includes therapeutic medications that would be expected to have less potential to affect performance than those in Class 3.  Drugs in this class includes less potent diuretics; corticosteroids; antihistamines and skeletal muscle relaxants without prominent central nervous system (CNS) effects; expectorants and mucolytics; hemostatics; cardiac glycosides and anti-arryhthmics; topical anesthetics; antidiarrheals and mild analgesics.  This class also includes the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), at concentrations greater than established limits.

Class 5: This class includes those therapeutic medications for which concentration limits have been established by the racing jurisdictions as well as certain miscellaneous agents and other medications as determined by the regulatory bodies.  Included specifically are agents that have very localized actions only, such as anti-ulcer drugs, and certain anti-allergic drugs.  The anticoagulant drugs are also included.