Anne M. Eberhardt

Protocol for Steroids Testing Progresses

The RMTC is moving forward with setting thresholds for testing of steroids.

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium board of directors Feb. 6 received an update on an anabolic steroids study, results of which will be used to set thresholds for testing in plasma.

The RMTC board, which met in Las Vegas, Nev., also discussed upcoming studies on therapeutic medication, development of best practices for drug-testing laboratories, and implementation of quality assurance programs.

RMTC chemist adviser Dr. Rick Sams from the University of Florida Racing Laboratory gave a presentation on the anabolic steroid administration studies recently completed at the University of Florida and funded by RMTC. The data on thresholds will be incorporated into the model rule that has been adopted or is in the process of adoption in 35 states.

Trainers and veterinarians will be told of the plasma thresholds when they are released.

“The magnitude of this study is without precedent in equine drug-testing anywhere in the world,” RMTC research consultant Dr. Bill Muir said in a statement. “The scientists involved are to be commended for developing analytic procedures and methods that are applicable to trained horses in racing condition. They have set the qualitative and quantitative standard regarding the testing procedures, experimental design, and analytical techniques used for the identification of anabolic steroids in racehorses.”

In 2009, the RMTC said it will continue to fund research on threshold levels and withdrawal times on therapeutic medications, including acepromazine, detomidine, glycopyrrolate, lidocaine, mepivacaine, firocoxib, and corticosteroids, use of which is expected to get a much closer look.

RMTC directors also heard reports from their Drug Testing Initiatives Task Force subcommittees, including laboratory standards, proficiency testing, graduate student/post-doctoral student recruitment, sample collection and frozen-sample retrospective testing strategies, and therapeutic medication national and international harmonization. In conjunction with this effort, the RMTC board committed up to $62,000 in 2009 to fund the quality assurance programs provided by the Testing Integrity Program.

“The amount of work that our Drug Testing Initiatives Task Force has accomplished since its inception in September is truly remarkable,” RMTC executive director Dr. Scot Waterman said. “There is a tremendous amount of excitement that we are on the path toward changing drug testing for the better in this country.”