BHA Notices Section
Anti-Viral Drug Amantidine - Use of
In the context of the Authority's approach to the detection of the use of anti-infective drugs (see BHA Notice 'Detection of the Use of Anti-infective Drugs') it would specifically draw Trainers' attention to the use of the anti-viral drug amantidine. The Authority is aware that amantidine is being used in horses.
Whilst scientific studies have been published referring to its possible activity against the equine influenza virus, all horses racing in Great Britain must be vaccinated against equine influenza. Any use of amantidine would be in the context of treatment of a significant viral disease, and it would be expected that a horse under treatment, and for a time after treatment, must be isolated to protect other horses.
In humans, amantidine has been used to treat diseases of the brain. In horses the use of amantidine does result in seizures in some cases and it may have other effects on the horse's central nervous system, and so could place horse and jockey at risk.
Any use of amantidine as an anti-viral drug is therefore advised to be under veterinary supervision, following a relevant diagnosis, and should include an extensive withdrawal period and include measures to protect other horses. The Authority notifies Trainers that with respect to amantidine it must not be present in horses on a raceday and that the approach of not reporting anti-infective drugs will not be taken with amantidine, which has other effects, and its use will be regarded as for the use of a prohibited substance.