|Date:||01 Jan 2006|
|Article:||Happy New Year to all and it's time for all those who compete at an elevated level, or who get pangs of conscience about unwittingly gaining an unfair advantage, to cast an eye over the changes to the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited lists. It can be easy to find that a prescription drug for a medical condition or a food supplement contains something banned. Things to be aware of this year are :
Banned steroids are now listed using their "international non-proprietory names". If you are prescribed a steroid for a medical condition, you may not be able to find out if it's banned by looking up the common name or the brand name. You will need to ask your doctor for the "international non-proprietory name" of the active ingredient.
One steroid that has been added to the list of banned substances this year is "tibolone" - which is commonly prescribed to treat post-menopausal symptoms. If you've been prescribed tibolone ask your doctor if there are alternatives.
Two hormones that can be naturally high in pregnant women are now only banned for men.
It is clarified that salbutamol is ALWAYS illegal if it is found over a certain concentration. Your medical exemption certificate doesn't allow you to snort it like a loony before every race !
The list of banned stimulants has changed - if you are on medicine that includes stimulants it might be worth checking the list of ingredients again.
But don't worry unnecessarily! One day they may decide to make a swoop on a road race, but until then it'll be your own conscience rather than the anti-doping police that will be giving you trouble.
And it doesn't help that the official wording of the WADA rules wouldn't win any plain English awards. If it doubt consult your doctor, or see me and we'll try to work out what the rules mean together.
Also, a word on the question of innocently taking contaminated food supplements that has been in the news in last year. In 2005 WADA commissioned a laboratory to test a wide variety of food supplements for contamination. Among some really scary findings they DID discover that products from pharmaceutical companies had a much lower level of contamination than products from 'sports supplement' or 'nutrition' companies. Some of the detail of the research is available online, but the key conclusion seems to be that athletes seeking to supplement their diets should go for pharmaceutical-grade products from reputable companies.