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Study Links Cell Damage To Corticosteroids

Friday, 14th March 2014

Early results of a study conducted at the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center suggest accepted dosage levels for several corticosteroids commonly used to treat racehorses may warrant further study, reports bloodhorse.com. The study 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 could be accomplished at lower than recommended dosage levels. Dr Jamie MacLeod believes recommended dosage levels are too high to begin with and, in practice, some horses may be receiving significantly more than the recommended dosage. He said as dosage levels increase, more negative side effects were observed. MacLeod said more 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. "We need a dose large enough for efficacy but small enough to avoid cell death," MacLeod said of the recommended dosage, which he said currently appears to be closer to the level that causes cell death than the level needed for efficacy. "I am not opposed to corticosteroids; they can be highly beneficial. I think we can find a better dose to achieve those goals."

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