Skip to content

Important Information Regarding The Use of the Prohibited Substance Phenibut



From USEF

Lexington, Ky. - Tasked with protecting the welfare of equine athletes and ensuring the balance of competition, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Equine Drugs and Medications Program constantly monitors products and product claims. From time-to-time products appear on the equine supplement market making claims of their effects on the performance of horses in competition. USEF members are ultimately responsible for compliance with the forbidden substance policy, and encouraged to audit the ingredient lists of supplement products for substances prohibited in USEF competition.

Recently, a problematic substance has come to the attention of the USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Program. Phenibut (β-phenyl gamma aminobutyric acid) is considered a derivative of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), and effective immediately, Phenibut (β-phenyl gamma aminobutyric acid) or any product containing Phenibut (β-phenyl gamma aminobutyric acid) is considered a forbidden substance under USEF rules. There are no current recognized medical uses for this substance; therefore reporting administration utilizing a Medication Report Form, pursuant to GR411, is not applicable.

There have been a number of recent positive findings for β-phenyl gamma aminobutyric acid and members have been notified. This ingredient has been found in a product called Focus Calm supplied by Uckele. Phenibut (β-phenyl gamma aminobutyric acid) is also available as a single supplement in the U.S., but is not considered a pharmaceutical. There are no known scientific studies documenting its safety in horses and there are no known legitimate therapeutic purposes for this substance to be used in the horse.

USEF members are encouraged to be aware of what they might be administering to their horse. 'Calming' supplements, intended to alter behavior, should be regarded with a high degree of scrutiny when fed to competition horses. It is important for members to understand that the names of substances included on ingredient lists may not always be easily associated with published forbidden substances. The FDA does not formally regulate animal supplements, and a high degree of variability can be present across companies and manufacturing practices. There is no guarantee that the constituents found in the product are consistent with what is listed on the list of the ingredients.

Questions regarding the use of equine drugs and medications may be directed to the USEF Equine Drugs and Medications hotline at 1-800-633-2472.

More Stories

  • Morgan Honors at USEF Convention

    AMHA is pleased to congratulate Morgan trainer Mike Goebig of Kutztown, Pennsylvania, as the 2017 Pegasus Medal of Honor recipient. Mike received this great honor at last evening's US Equestrian's awards dinner... Read More
  • NWSA Fall Classic Selects Judge

    The Northwest Saddlebred Association Fall Classic Horse Show has named Bill Waller to be the judge for this year’s show. The event is scheduled for Sept. 19-22, 2018 at the Oregon Horse Center in Eugene, Oregon. Read More
  • Freedman's Announces Release of New Saddle Pad

    Freedman’s is proud to launch their newest product, The Freedman Acavallo Memory Foam Gel Pad. The Freedman Acavallo Memory Foam Gel Pad is a full compression, non-slip pad, specifically designed to fit discreetly under Freedman’s cut back saddles... Read More
  • Far West Morgan Regional Joins Country Classic

    The Far West Morgan Regional Championship Horse Show has big changes in store for participants in 2018. Last year Far West was held in conjunction with the Oregon Morgan Classic at the Oregon Horse Center in June. Read More
  • River Ridge Charity Selects Judging Panel

    River Ridge Charity is fast approaching and is scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday, April 25-28, 2018 at the Ohio Exposition Center in Columbus, Ohio... Read More
  • ASHA Welcomes New Directors For 2018

    The American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) is pleased to announce the election of seven (7) new members to its Board of Directors, who will join the Board at the UPHA & ASHA Conference, which will host the ASHA annual meeting on February 1, 2018. Read More
  • David L. Howard to be Honored for Lifetime Achievement

    The American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) has announced its annual award recipients, based on ballots tabulated by the ASHA Board of Directors. Nominees for each award are received from the general membership and committee volunteers, screened by the ASHA Executive Committee, and voted on by the full Board from the candidates selected. Read More
  • Iowa Horse Shows Associations Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet

    The Iowa Horse Shows Association will hold their annual meeting and awards banquet on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at The Prairie Meadows Event Center, Altoona, IA. Events begin at 3:30 PM with the annual membership meeting of the Iowa Horse Shows Association followed by the Iowa American Saddlebred Association meeting. At 5:30 PM the American Saddlebred Futurity of Iowa will hold their Stallion Service Auction. The Banquet and Awards ceremony will begin at 7 PM. Read More
  • 2018 AMHA Convention Schedule

    Come celebrate Valentine’s Day with your favorite breed and those who share the same passion as you at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington, Kentucky, for the 2018 AMHA Annual Convention and Awards Gala... Read More
  • Jubilee Regional Morgan Horse Show Takes Hiatus for 2018

    Due to continued uncertainty at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, the committee for the Jubilee Regional Morgan Horse Show has voted to take a one-year hiatus from hosting the show traditionally held at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield at the end of August... Read More