USEF Rule Permits Surpass

Monday, November 22, 2004

Effective December 1, 2004, the USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Rule permits the therapeutic use of Surpass®, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory product (NSAID) recently approved by the FDA for use in horses. This is a topical preparation of 1% diclofenac cream, from IDEXX Pharmaceuticals. The rule change, which was adopted by the Executive Committee on November 16, 2004, establishes a quantitative restriction, i.e., maximum permitted plasma concentration, similar to those for other NSAIDs. USEF has also issued dose and time recommendations for this product, i.e., application recommendations, to help achieve compliance with the rule. The rule does not require a medication report to be filed in connection with the use of this product.

The application recommendations, which are consistent with IDEXX’s application instructions for Surpass®, are as follows:

Every 12 hours, not more than 73 mg of diclofenac liposomal cream should be administered (not more than 146 mg per 24 hour period) to one affected site. This 73 mg dose equals a 5-inch ribbon of cream not great than ½ inch width, which should be rubbed thoroughly into the hair over the joint or affected site using gloved hands. Administration of diclofenac cream should be discontinued 12 hours prior to competing. Do not apply diclofenac cream in combination with any other topical preparations including DMSO, nitrofurazone, or liniments and do not use on an open wound. Diclofenac cream should not be administered for more than 10 successive days.

Clinical studies have shown that Surpass® is a useful anti-inflammatory therapy, which is effective in managing inflammation associated with osteoarthritis in horses. However, it is not a potent analgesic and would not be effective in masking pain. As a topical product, it allows for targeted, localized treatment of inflamed joints, thereby minimizing the potential side-effects of systemic NSAIDs.

“This gives veterinarians who treat horses in competition a new therapeutic option, one which is both safe and effective,” stated Dr. A. Kent Allen, Chairman of the Equine Drugs and Medications Committee and also of the Veterinary Committee. He concluded, “I am gratified that the Executive Committee expedited this rule change, for the benefit of the health and well-being of the horse.”

“This is a very welcomed rule change,” stated Dr. John G. Lengel, Administrator of the Equine Drugs and Medications Program. He continued, “However, I need to make it clear that the USEF Rule permits the therapeutic use in a horse of not more than two NSAIDs at one time. In this respect the rule is unchanged,” he concluded.

The USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Committee and Veterinary Committee express their appreciation to IDEXX Pharmaceuticals, for helping to conduct the research to generate the analytical data that served as the basis for this rule.

Questions about the Equine Drugs and Medications Rule should be directed to (800) 633-2472 or

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