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U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)

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How Athletes Can Safely Use Cold and Flu Products

There are many popular over-the-counter products used for everyday ailments that can cause a positive test if used in-competition. More specifically, many cold and flu medications and inhalers contain stimulants that are prohibited in-competition. Read more to learn how athletes subject to anti-doping rules can safely use cold and flu products.

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Medications vs. Supplements

Given that they are both used for health purposes, it would be easy to assume that medications and supplements are regulated the same way and produced to the same standards, but unfortunately this is not the case. Unlike medications, supplements are regulated post-market, which means that no regulatory body evaluates the contents or safety of supplements before they are sold to consumers.

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Three Things to Know about TUEs

It’s to be expected that athletes may experience medical conditions over the course of their sport careers, which may require that they use a medication or receive medical treatment. If the substance or method prescribed to treat that medical condition is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), athletes can apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), and if granted, obtain permission to use a prohibited substance or method for a specified time period.

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