Study: Lower Corticosteroid Doses Might be Beneficial

Researchers concluded that a corticosteroid treatment’s desired therapeutic effects could be achieved at lower dosage levels than recommended by the manufacturer and commonly used on racehorses.

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Initial results of a study conducted at the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center suggest accepted dosage levels for several commonly used corticosteroids might be worth further study.

At the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council's (KEDRC) regular meeting March 12 in Lexington, Jamie MacLeod, VMD, PhD, John S. and Elizabeth A. Knight chair and professor of veterinary science at the Gluck Equine Research Center, outlined initial results of a study that looked at the efficacy and dangers of methylprednisolone, betamethasone, and triamcinolone, which are used to treat ailing joints in racehorses.

The study concluded that the desired therapeutic effects of the corticosteroid treatments, especially methylprednisolone and betamethasone, could be accomplished at lower dosage levels than recommended by the manufacturer and commonly used on the backstretch. MacLeod said as dosage levels increase, more negative side effects were observed.

MacLeod said further study is needed to determine the proper dosage levels to use corticosteroids to treat inflammation and pain, but avoid negative side effects that include death of healthy cells in the joint

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Frank Angst is a staff writer for The Blood-Horse magazine. An American Horse Publications three-time winner in best news story category, Angst has covered horse racing for more than a decade. Angst spent ten years at Thoroughbred Times, where he earned awards as that magazine’s senior writer and helped launch Thoroughbred Times TODAY. Besides covering horse racing, Angst enjoys handicapping. Angst has written about sports for more than 20 years, including several seasons covering a nationally ranked Marshall Thundering Herd football team.

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