Anti-Doping FAQ

Anti-Doping FAQs

What can I take if I have a cold or the flu?

 If an athlete has a cold, flu, or hay fever there are a number of permitted medications. Ensure medications do not contain other prohibited stimulants by checking various Online Drug References.  Antihistamines are, in general, permitted as are cough medications and some decongestants purchased over-the-counter.


What if I need to take something for minor pain?

 Slight to moderate pain can be effectively treated using non-narcotic drugs. Some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Aleve, and Celebrex) are permitted. They have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-killing) actions. But be reminded that you must still declare any medication you have taken on your Doping Control Form in the event of a test.


Can I use medication that has been prescribed by a doctor?

Some medications prescribed by physicians for treatment of legitimate medical conditions or injuries may be prohibited. A prohibited substance is still prohibited, even if prescribed by a doctor. If this substance is found in an athlete’s sample, it does not matter if the doctor prescribed it, the athlete will be responsible.

Athletes are strongly advised to promptly apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption before using any medication prescribed by their doctor.

Always ask about the substance that is given to you, always apply for a TUE before its use and do not take it if there is any doubt as to whether or not it may be prohibited.


What should I do if a prohibited medication is needed?

 Alternative medications that are not prohibited may be available and can be used for treatment in lieu of prohibited substances. Ask your physician about these alternatives.

 There may be cases where the medication is essential and no permitted alternatives exist. In those circumstances a TUE may be requested from the ISSF if you are an international-level athlete or to your National Anti-Doping Organization if you are a national-level athlete. Submission of a TUE application does not mean automatic approval of a TUE. You should always submit an application for a TUE no less than 30 days in advance of a competition.


Do herbal remedies contain prohibited substances?

 Herbal remedies have been found to contain prohibited stimulants or other substances which may not be found on the ingredient list on the label. These products vary greatly and a guarantee cannot be given as to their safety or acceptability in sport. As a general rule, you are best to avoid taking herbal remedies unless you are sure that they contain no prohibited substances.


How can I know which medications can be taken?

 Carefully read the ingredients of anything you plan on ingesting before doing so. Consult the WADA Prohibited List and the Global DRO. Ask questions. Contact your National Anti-Doping Organization. Do on-line searches. Use any means available to you to find out if the medication or supplement you wish to take is safe to use.

 Do not take any unknown substances (e.g., from a friend or acquaintance who offers something to help) and never take a family member's prescription. The use of foreign medications is strongly discouraged.

 Bottom line: if you are not sure, do not use it.

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