Riders are warned to take care when using devil’s claw this year if they are competing under FEI rules, as an active ingredient appears on the governing body’s controlled medication list for 2016.
Harpogoside is now on the proposed list of controlled medication. Harpogoside is an active component in Devil’s claw and the herb is commonly used to help ease muscle pain as it is an anti-inflammatory with analgesic properties.
Devil’s Claw products have been widely used as a substitute for prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, known as nsaids, such as bute, in the belief that they are permissible during competition. This highlights that you should always get veterinary advice and use properly prescribed medication as herbal remedies might not always be legal for competitions.
If you are using a supplement with Devil’s Claw it is adviseable to discontinue use two weeks prior to a competition.
The list is updated by the FEI annually, and the changes came into effect on 1 January 2016.
Other substances to be aware of include ammonium sulphate and ammonium sulphide.Both are currently unlisted, but will be banned substances next year, and are described as nerve-blocking agents with a high potential for abuse. Banned substances are not permitted for use in horses taking part in competition.
Controlled medications are acknowledged as substances with therapeutic veterinary benefits, but are not permitted during FEI events because of the potential for their misuse.