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AVMA Offers Important Guidance to DEA on New Controls for Induction Agent—Propofol

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has offered input to help smooth implementation of proposed new federal guidelines on a useful and effective induction agent, propofol.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has proposed making propofol a Schedule IV drug.  In a letter to the DEA today, the AVMA has offered input to help the DEA keep this effective drug, which typically causes few side effects when used appropriately in patients, in use in veterinary clinics while keeping it out of the hands of abusers.

"The DEA cites research that 28 percent of drug abusers of propofol die as a result of this abuse, so the AVMA understands the DEA's actions to stop diversion of propofol from its intended use," explains Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the AVMA.  "However, propofol is also an effective drug used in veterinary anesthesia, and we want to make sure that the burden of disposing of it under the DEA's rules doesn't discourage veterinarians from utilizing propofol."

Unlike many other drugs, preservative-free propofol has a very short shelf life, meaning that it becomes unusable within hours of opening.  The AVMA is concerned that under DEA rules, veterinarians may no longer be allowed to dispose of any unused propofol into an absorbent substance for incineration or disposal as solid waste. In order to stop pharmaceutical waste from entering our waterways, the AVMA has instituted its Best Management Practice (BMP) for Pharmaceutical Disposal, guiding veterinarians to incinerate drug waste or to dispose of drugs as solid waste -- squirting liquids like propofol into absorbent materials and having them incinerated or placing them into landfills.

"The AVMA is asking the DEA to balance the essential need to protect the public from abuse of propofol while also allowing for convenient disposal of wasted propofol on an ongoing basis," Dr. DeHaven says.

For more information about the AVMA, please visit

The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. More than 80,000 member veterinarians worldwide are engaged in a wide variety of professional activities.

SOURCE American Veterinary Medical Association
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