What to know about Betamethasone

Jane Allin is our genius level resident expert on anything chemical. Alas, she is busy elsewhere so we will have to make do with mere mortals.

Actually, all we are going to do — because it is all we can do — is borrow from others who have explained it elsewhere.

This drug is in the news of course because this year’s Kentucky Derby winner (as it stands as of this writing) tested positive for it, and it is on the banned list of race day medications.

Darcy Costello, reporting for the Louisville Courier Journal, writes:

What is betamethasone?

Betamethasone is a corticosteroid, meaning it’s a man-made steroid that resembles cortisol, a natural hormone produced by the adrenal gland. 

The drug and other corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone and prednisone suppress inflammation, according to the Mayo Clinic. They can additionally suppress the immune system.

But the Cleveland Clinic notes that corticosteroids are “different from the male hormone-related steroid compounds that some athletes abuse.” 

Corticosteroid drugs administered into joints can provide relief from discomfort for horses, according to Kentucky Equine Research.

Is it a banned substance?

It is legal in Kentucky as a therapeutic. But any race day positive is a violation, The Courier Journal previously reported.

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2 thoughts on “What to know about Betamethasone”

  1. Here’s the reasons given for DQ’ing Medina Spirt, whose system might have had a whole one millionth of a gram of betamethasone. It could have given Medina Spirit an unfair advantage. Those who asserted this said there was no way of knowing?
    Really? No way of knowing? What about the results of the race? Medina Spirit won by half a length! Well, we do know one thing; It damn sure didn’t turn Medina Spirit into Secretariat, did it?


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