Pharmacy News

Dr Marie Sartain
/ Categories: APhA News

FDA cracks down on xylazine imports amid growing concern

FDA announced it is taking steps to curb illicit importation of the animal sedative xylazine, which is frequently being mixed with illegal street drugs.

FDA issued an import alert that allows authorities to halt shipments of the finished drug and its ingredients. The agency said the alert was “designed to ensure that imports of drugs containing xylazine into the country are intended for the legitimate veterinary supply.”

Xylazine is legal and commonly used by veterinarians to sedate large animals, but it is now being found in blood samples of overdose victims nationwide. The use of xylazine is most widespread in Philadelphia, where the drug has been found in an overwhelming number of drug samples and in 31% of all overdose victims as of 2019. Users of the drug may suffer from extensive wounds, often requiring limbs to be amputated.

DEA and the Department of Justice said in a recent intelligence report that xylazine can be purchased online from China for as little as $6 per kilogram. “At this low price, its use as an adulterant may increase the profit for illicit drug traffickers, as its psychoactive effects allows them to reduce the amount of fentanyl; or heroin used in a mixture,” the report warned.

Earlier, FDA issued a warning saying that xylazine, which is not an opioid, may hamper the use of naloxone.

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