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Athlete Advisory: 5 Things to Keep in Mind for 2019

DISCLAIMER: This content is NOT being updated and is only current as of the publication date.

As you prepare to train and compete in 2019, it’s important to keep in mind that the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List is updated every year and goes into effect on January 1. That’s why you should take the time to learn about the List and become familiar with any changes that might impact the substances and methods you can use as a competitive athlete. It’s always good to refresh your understanding of ongoing anti-doping rules too.

Here are five things to remember for 2019:


1. Strict Liability

As always, athletes subject to testing are strictly liable for any substance found in their blood or urine, so it’s worth taking some time to understand anti-doping rules. Your urine and blood sample(s) can be tested for more than 500 prohibited substances and metabolites. In order to add further doping deterrence, samples are routinely stored for reanalysis for up to 10 years and specialized analysis is conducted for additional substances based on the Athlete Biological Passport.


2. 2019 WADA Prohibited List

Even though the Prohibited List is reviewed and updated each year, significant changes may not always occur. In 2019, WADA made relatively minor changes to the Prohibited List. But as usual, a number of clarifications were made to help athletes and their support teams better identify and understand prohibited substances and methods.


3. Clarifications in 2019

A longer list of highlighted clarifications to the 2019 Prohibited List is available here, but below are some of the most relevant to athletes.

  • WADA clarified that all endogenous anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) and their metabolites and isomers are prohibited when administered exogenously. This is important because some dietary supplement manufacturers may intentionally try to use lesser-known components of well-known anabolic agents to make the supplement facts label misleading for consumers. These endogenous anabolic androgenic steroids are all prohibited at all times, regardless of the variation or name.


  • The title of M3.3 was changed to “Gene and Cell Doping,” since cells were already included in this class. Within this class, it’s important to note that stem cells are not prohibited while treating injuries, as long as their use restores, but does not enhance, function.


  • Epiandrosterone (3β-hydroxy-5α-androstan-17-one) was added as an example of a prohibited anabolic agent. This prohibited substance has been found in nutritional supplements.


4. Important Anti-Doping Reminders

While there are no major changes to the 2019 Prohibited List, there are substances and methods that athletes frequently ask about. Below are brief overviews of those substances and links to additional information.

  • Marijuana/Cannabis: All natural and synthetic cannabinoids, except cannabidiol (CBD), are prohibited in-competition. Keep in mind that it is very difficult to obtain a pure CBD extract or oil from the cannabis plant. Anyone who buys a CBD oil, extract, or other CBD product should assume that it is a mixture of CBD and other prohibited cannabinoids.


  • IVs: All IV infusions and/or injections of any substance, prohibited or permitted, in excess of 100 mL per 12-hour period are prohibited at all times, except for those legitimately received in the course of hospital treatment, surgical procedures, or clinical diagnostic investigations. In all other circumstances, an approved TUE is required in advance of an IV infusion above the limit and/or involving a prohibited substance.


  • Ostarine: Ostarine is the trademarked name for a Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM) that is not FDA-approved for human use or consumption in the U.S., or in any other country. Ostarine is prohibited at all times under the S1. Anabolic Agent category of the Prohibited List. Unfortunately, it has been found as a frequent contaminant in dietary supplements.


  • Spironolactone: Spironolactone can be prescribed off-label to treat acne in adult women, but it is prohibited at all times as a diuretic and masking agent. A TUE in advance of use is required.


  • ADD/ADHD Medications: Athletes with ADD/ADHD can continue using necessary prohibited stimulant medications while competing in sanctioned sports as long as they receive a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) in advance, which requires them to demonstrate that they can satisfy strict criteria for TUE approval.


  • Inhalers: Athletes are often prescribed medication, such as beta-2 agonists and glucocorticoids, delivered by inhalers, so it’s important to understand what inhalers and doses are permitted, and when a TUE is needed.


5. More Anti-Doping Resources

USADA is always here to help answer your specific questions (contact info below), but we also urge you to use GlobalDRO.com to search the status of your medications and ingredients. On Supplement411.org, you can find more information about the risks of using supplements and how to minimize that risk.

But remember, you can never be 100 percent sure about the safety of supplements because they are regulated in a post-market manner, meaning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not verify the contents, nor evaluate the safety or efficacy, of supplements before they are sold.

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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