Polyglycan Vs. Adequan

By Jane Meggitt

If your horse is suffering the aches and pains of arthritis, you want to make him comfortable. If you compete your horse, many over-the-counter arthritis supplements or prescription medications are not permitted for use. Adequan or Polyglycan, both available only by prescription, are allowed, because they are natural substances found in the body. A study -- funded by Adequan -- finds that Adequan is more effective than Polyglycan.

Adequan for Horses

Adequan for horses consists of polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, available as an intramuscular injection. Polysulfated glycosaminoglycan chemically resembles natural glycosaminoglycans found in cartilage. It improves joint function in horses diagnosed with degenerative joint disease by increasing the amount of synovial fluid -- which reduces friction during movement --in the equine hock and knee.

Polyglycan for Horses

Polyglycan for horses contains forms of hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine. It was expressly designed to replace the synovial fluid a horse may lose during surgery.

Drug Administration

Adequan is administered via intramuscular injection every four days -- roughly twice a week -- for 28 days, for a total of seven treatments. After the initial regimen, your vet will discuss a schedule for your horse. Depending on your individual situation, your horse may require a treatment regimen once or twice a year.

Your vet will determine the treatment regimen of Polyglycan based on your horse's needs. While Polyglycan is approved for equine use, it is not approved for intravenous administration. However, it is often administered by that route rather than intramuscularly.

Product Efficacy

In a controlled study involving 16 horses, Adequan was found more effective than Polyglycan in several categories, including:

  • Lameness improvement, 88 percent to 50 percent.
  • Stride length improvement, 100 percent to 61 percent.
  • Knee flexion, 95 percent to 61 percent.

In the study, the horses were divided into two groups of eight equines each. These animals had material injected into their knees to induce inflammation, the equivalent of a condition known as carpitis. The comparisons were made after a 28-day treatment period.

Product Contraindications

Neither Adequan or Polyglycan produces side effects. Adequan's use is contraindicated in pregnant and nursing mares.

While Polyglycan is often referred to as "generic Adequan," that is not the case. It does not contain the same ingredients. It is less expensive than Adequan.