Xylazine, an animal tranquilizer that has “increasingly been detected” in illegal substances like fentanyl and heroin, will no longer be allowed for import, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Tuesday. Shipments of xylazine and the chemicals needed to produce it are subject to increased FDA examination under the import alert, and agency personnel may detain shipments to ensure they are intended for authorized use.
To make sure that medications containing xylazine are accessible to vets, the FDA claimed it is working in concert with animal health partners.
Animals may use xylazine as a sedative and painkiller with FDA approval. Although it is legal for veterinarians to use xylazine-containing medication to sedate large animals like horses and deer, the agency warned that it is not safe for use in humans and may have serious, even fatal, side effects.
According to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, “The FDA remains concerned about the rising frequency of xylazine mixed with illicit narcotics, and this action is one component of wider measures the agency is pursuing to address this issue.”
To stop these illegal actions and safeguard the public’s health, Califf stated, “We will continue to employ all of the instruments at our disposal and collaborate with the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal, state, local agencies and partners as necessary.”
FDA officials said they will take into account specific information provided by importers to support their claims that the inbound substance is correctly labeled, unadulterated, and meant for legal veterinary use as part of their entrance examination.
The FDA observed that reports of serious side effects from exposure to fentanyl, heroin, and other illegal substances contaminated with xylazine had been rising. Yet, it can be challenging to ascertain what part the medicine itself plays in fatalities. While naloxone cannot restore all of the drug’s negative effects, some of them are comparable to an opioid overdose.
Xylazine is not an opioid, but the FDA warned that it can critically lower vital signs like respiration, blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. According to the FDA, individuals who inject medicines containing xylazine may also experience serious skin wounds and patches of dead and rotting tissue that are readily infected and may require amputation if left untreated.