Preventing the accidental ingestion of medicinal products for horses

Cases of adverse effects are regularly reported after humans have been accidentally exposed to veterinary medicinal products. Prascend®, intended for horses, is the medicinal product most frequently involved, after antiparasitics. Its mode of administration, generally hidden in food, has led to specific recommendations.

Prascend® is the second most common veterinary medicinal product (immediately following external antiparasitics) involved in cases of accidental human exposure. This was shown by a study of all the adverse effects in humans reported in France in 2018. This pergolide-based drug is intended to treat horses with equine Cushing's disease, which causes severe hormonal imbalances. For convenience, the tablet is often hidden in a small amount of food, generally an apple or a piece of bread. Since it is usually prepared in advance, there is a lapse of time during which an uninformed person may unintentionally eat the food.

The French Agency for Veterinary Medicinal Products, as part of ANSES, is reiterating its recommendations to prevent this type of accidental ingestion: 

  • prepare the treatment at the last minute, immediately before administering it to the animal;
  • failing this, place the treatment in a properly labelled airtight container placed out of immediate reach (a locked cabinet, top shelf, etc.).

If you accidentally ingest Prascend®, you are advised to rapidly consult a doctor, and bring the product leaflet with you. However, due to the nature of the observed symptoms, which are often neurological (i.e. sleepiness and dizziness), you should not drive yourself and should have someone accompany you. The use of machinery is also strongly discouraged.     

Adverse effects in humans as a consequence of veterinary medicinal product use can be reported on the website of the Ministry of Health.