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Athlete Advisory: Explanation of Key Changes on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List

Cover image of the 2021 WADA Prohibited List.Each year, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) reviews the WADA Prohibited List to determine if substances and methods should be added or removed from the List and if any categories and conditions should be modified or clarified.

For the 2021 Prohibited List, WADA made several changes that athletes should be aware of because the clarifications could impact their use of substances and treatments. Below, you’ll find more information on the key changes.

Inhaled vilanterol has a permitted daily dosage

Vilanterol is a long-acting beta-2 agonist that is used in some inhalers to treat asthma. It is now permitted up to the manufacturer’s maximum recommended inhaled dose of 1 puff (25 mcg) per day.   

For more information on inhaled medications, click here.

Arformoterol and levalbuterol are still prohibited at all times

WADA has specifically named arformoterol and levalbuterol (levosalbutamol) as examples of prohibited beta-2 agonists to further clarify that these substances are prohibited at all times. Unlike formoterol and albuterol (salbutamol), there is no permitted daily dose for these asthma medications.

Any athlete in the Registered Testing Pool (RTP) or the Clean Athlete Program (CAP) using an inhaler that contains arformoterol or levalbuterol must apply for a TUE prior to use. All other athletes should submit a TUE Pre-Check Form to determine if a TUE is necessary. If you’re unsure if you are an RTP or CAP athlete, please submit a TUE Pre-Check Form.

Positive tests involving Substances of Abuse will be sanctioned differently

WADA has identified a category of substances called Substances of Abuse, which are substances that are both prohibited in-competition and frequently abused in society outside of sport.

The 2021 Prohibited List identifies the following as Substances of Abuse: cocaine, diamorphine (heroin), methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA/ecstasy), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the psychoactive chemical in natural cannabis products). 

Positive tests involving Substances of Abuse will be subject to specific rules under the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code. For example, if an athlete can establish that the use of a substance of abuse was out-of-competition and unrelated to sport performance, then the period of ineligibility is a flat three months with no need to further analyze the degree of fault. The sanction can be further reduced to one month if the athlete successfully completes a substance abuse program that is approved by USADA.

Additional examples of prohibited substances were also added in various categories

For specific examples, please see the Summary of Major Modifications and Explanatory Notes.

More questions?

For questions about specific products, substances, and methods, contact USADA’s Drug Reference Line at drugreference@usada.org or call (719) 785-2000, option 2.

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