RCI Reclassifies Steroids as Class 3
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 8/22/2008 2:08:02 PM
Last Updated: 8/23/2008 4:45:42 PM

Edited release from RCI

The Association of Racing Commissioners International's board of directors has unanimously approved a drug reclassification of stanozolol, boldenone, nandrolone, and testosterone, moving the anabolic steroids to Class 3 from Class 4.   This change in classification clears the way for racing commissions to impose tougher penalties for a positive test consistent with the Model Rules or their individual jurisdictional practices.

The complete RCI classifications are available at www.arci.com.

“This move is consistent with the fact that the racing commissions believed the existing classification of a positive for these steroids was not sufficiently serious based upon the unanimous opinion of the Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee as well as the majority recommendation of the Veterinary Pharmacology Subcommittee,” RCI president Ed Martin said.

Martin also noted that some states are considering even tougher sanctions for rule violations and these may become the basis for further Model Rule consideration.

The RCI board also classified the following substances as noted below:

1.-Levamisole is an anthelmintic drug that has also been used as an immune system stimulant in some species including the horse. There is some evidence that levamisole may be metabolized to aminorex in some horses. Furthermore, there is evidence that levamisole may have effects on the central nervous system of horses. The board voted to include this in RCI Class 2.

2--Ergoloid mesylates (dihydroergocornine mesylate, dihydroergocristine mesylate, and dihydroergocryptine mesylate) are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as Hydergine to improve cognitive function in elderly humans. Ergoloid mesylates have been included in preparations administered to horses purportedly to improve “breathing.” “There is no specific evidence which clearly establishes the mechanism by which Hydergine (ergoloid mesylates) preparations produce mental effects, nor is there conclusive evidence that the drug particularly affects cerebral arteriosclerosis or cerebrovascular insufficiency.” (www.Drugs.com)  The board voted to include this in RCI Class 2 with other substances with effects on cognition.

3--Ciclesonide is an inhaled corticosteroid indicated for the maintenance treatment of asthma and as prophylactic therapy in adult and adolescent patients that has recently been approved by the US FDA for use in people.  The board voted to include this in RCI Class 4 with other corticosteroids.

4--Nebivolol is a once daily beta blocker approved for the treatment of hypertension that has recently been approved by the US FDA for use in people. The board voted to include this in RCI Class 3 with other beta blocking drugs.

5--Duloxetine is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor that was first approved for the acute treatment of major depressive disorder and has since been approved for the management of neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy and for the acute treatment of generalized anxiety disorder in people. The board voted to include this in RCI Class 2 with other serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

6--Brimonidine is an alpha adrenergic receptor agonist that has recently been approved by the US FDA for use in people. The Board voted to include this in RCI Class 2 with similar drugs that are not approved for use in the horse.

7--Paliperidone is an atypical antipsychotic drug approved by the US FDA for use in people for the treatment of schizophrenia. The Board voted to include this in RCI Class 2 with other related substances.

8--Arformoterol is a long-acting beta2-agonist used to treat bronchospasm approved by the US FDA for use in people. The board voted to include this in RCI Class 3 with other bronchodilators.

9--α-Cobratoxin is a neurotoxin isolated from the venom of certain cobras of the genus Naja such as Naja atra, Naja naja kaouthia, and Naja siamensis. It binds strongly and irreversibly to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor thereby blocking the binding of acetylcholine. The inhibition of acetylcholine binding produces paralysis in certain muscles that may lead to respiratory paralysis and blocks nerve conduction that results in potent opioid independent analgesia. It is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for any use.  The board voted to include this in RCI Class 1 with other potent analgesic drugs that do not have therapeutic uses in racing horses.

10--Ziconotide is a potent non-opioid, non-NSAID, non-local anesthetic drug that has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in people to alleviate chronic pain.  It is the synthetic form of the cone snail peptide ω-conotoxin M-VII-A, an N-type calcium channel blocker.  It is administered by constant infusion from an implantable pump into the central nervous system.  Other routes of administration are associated with poor efficacy or unacceptable toxicity.  The board voted to include this in RCI Class 1 with other potent analgesic drugs that do not have therapeutic uses in racing horses.

11--N-Butylscopolamine is an anti-spasmodic and anti-cholinergic drug that is approved by the US FDA to relieve pain associated with colic and impactions in horses. The Board voted to include this in RCI Class 3.

12--Adrenochrome monosemicarbazone salicylate is a substance that is purported to be useful as an adjunct “bleeder” medication. The Board voted to include this in RCI Class 4.


The RCI board also modified existing classifications as follows:

1--Change classification of propantheline from Class 4 to Class 3 to conform to the classification of other anti-cholinergic drugs;

2--Change classification of methantheline from Class 4 to Class 3 to conform to the classification of other anti-cholinergic drugs;

3--Change classification of mepenzolate from Class 4 to Class 3 to conform to the classification of other anti-cholinergic drugs;

4--Change classification of clidinium from Class 4 to Class 3 to conform to the classification of other anti-cholinergic drugs;

5--Change classification of dromostanolone from Class 4 to Class 3 to conform to classification of other androgenic anabolic steroids that are not approved for use in the horse;

6--Change classification of norethandrolone from Class 4 to Class 3 to conform to classification of other androgenic anabolic steroids that are not approved for use in the horse;

7--Change classification of methandrostenolone from Class 4 to Class 3 to conform to classification of other androgenic anabolic steroids that are not approved for use in the horse.


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