Preventing Accidental Exposure to Regu-Mate® and Procedures for Safe Handling
Table of Contents
Regu-Mate® Solution 0.22%, DIN 00641987, is an oral progestin used to suppress estrus or as an adjunct to help maintain pregnancy in some mares. The active ingredient is altrenogest 2.2 mg/ml. It is intended for use in non-food animals only. Because it can be administered orally and does not interfere with the measurement of naturally produced progesterone in the mare, Regu-Mate® provides advantages as a breeding management tool. However, there are some health and safety concerns when working with this medicine. Each barn owner or manager needs to ensure that methods and policies are in place for the safe storage and handling of Regu-Mate®. The italicized areas in this information sheet are direct quotes from the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for this product (1).
Pregnant women and others of child bearing age should exercise extreme caution when handling this product. Acute effects after single exposure are possible; however, continued daily exposure has a greater potential for these effects. Acute effects include disruption of the menstrual cycle, uterine or abdominal cramping, increased or decreased uterine bleeding and headaches.
People who should not handle this product include: women who are pregnant or suspect they are pregnant; anyone with thrombophlebitis or thromboembolic disorders or with a history of these events; people with cerebral-vascular or coronary-artery disease; women with known or suspected carcinoma of the breast; people with known or estrogen-dependant neoplasia; women with undiagnosed vaginal bleeding; people with a benign or malignant tumor which developed during the use of oral contraceptives or other estrogen-containing products; anyone with liver dysfunction or disease.
There are no warnings on the MSDS for men regarding the effects of Regu-Mate®. However, there are a few research papers which indicate that there can be some long-term effects on stallions which were treated with this medicine. Miller et al. found that the testosterone of stallions was suppressed for 60 days after treatment with this medicine(2). Therefore, it would be prudent that humans of both genders take the same precautions to prevent skin and eye contamination.
Accidental contact can occur when employees come in contact with objects contaminated with Regu-Mate®. This begins when an employee prepares and/or administers the drug, uses a pen to record the treatment, handles the records, and/or opens doors with hands or gloves that are contaminated. If the Regu-Mate® is not washed off immediately or the gloves removed, anything touched can become contaminated with the drug. This increases the chance of other employees coming in contact with it. The risk is amplified when a large number of mares are being dosed and when several dosing syringes need to be loaded or reloaded. Take care and continuously replace contaminated disposable gloves with clean ones. The person carrying the Regu-Mate® should not be simultaneously completing records. A second person should do the record keeping and handle the doors to the sheds or stalls.
Regu-Mate® should be kept out of the reach of children. Store at room temperature below 25oC in well-closed containers. Protect from freezing.
To prevent cross contamination,
Spilled Regu-Mate® should be cleaned up and contaminated materials, containers and syringes should be incinerated.
When administering Regu-Mate®, wear protective clothing consisting of safety glasses and coveralls, which can be washed or disposed of, and at least two layers of non-porous rubber or vinyl gloves. Regu-Mate® is easily absorbed through unbroken skin. Wearing two layers of gloves allows for disposal of the contaminated gloves and leaves clean gloves for opening doors, etc.
Hand-washing facilities should be suitably located around the barn/farm to encourage frequent hand washing. Research at a human hospital showed that, as the access to a hand-washing facility increased, the hand-washing compliance increased(3). Thorough hand washing with soap is adequate in most cases. Antiseptic soaps (e.g., chlorhexidine or iodophor shampoo/washes) may also be used and should be located at the sink in an easy dispensing container. Chemical contamination can also occur with other common medicines, including horse dewormers such as Eqvalan®. They should be washed off immediately if they come in contact with bare skin. If workers are required to walk a long distance and open doors to reach a sink, hand washing usually won't occur and door handles and other objects will become contaminated.
Barn managers should be instructed to post protocols for the safe handling of Regu-Mate® and other horse medicines in their barn(s) and ensure that staff are trained and follow the guidelines.
The following methods will help to minimize or eliminate accidental skin exposure or contamination of equipment.
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