Xylazine (Rompun®, Sedazine®, AnaSed®) is a medication that is FDA approved for animals only. It is a non-opioid sedative and painkiller. However, it is increasingly being mixed illicitly with drugs such as fentanyl and heroin to increase the effects of the high.
This drug can significantly lower blood pressure and negatively impact central nervous system function. It can decrease a person’s respiratory rate and heart rate to dangerously low levels.
With reports of drug overdoses—and deaths—across the country directly related to the illegal mix of xylazine with narcotics, congressional lawmakers have started the discussion to schedule xylazine as a controlled substance. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has also begun the process to schedule the drug.
Xylazine is in a category of medications called alpha-2 agonists. This type of drug does not respond to Narcan® (naloxone), the widespread reversal agent for an opioid overdose. There are xylazine reversal agents on the market, but they are often not as readily available as Narcan.
The AVMA anticipates that xylazine will become scheduled and is working with congressional offices and committees to lessen the impact this decision might have on veterinary practice.
In most states, xylazine is not a controlled substance and can be obtained from a veterinarian. We recommend that veterinarians who use xylazine be vigilant of this new information and remain conscientious about its abuse potential to humans.
To learn more about this medication and abuse potential, please refer to this information from the DEA.