Introduction: Acute bupropion (dopamine/noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor) administration significantly improved time trial performance and increased core temperature in the heat (30°C).
Purpose: The present study was performed to examine the effect of a dopaminergic reuptake inhibitor on exercise capacity and thermoregulation during prolonged exercise in temperate and warm conditions.
Methods: Eight healthy well-trained male cyclists participated in this study. Subjects ingested either placebo (PLA; 20 mg) or methylphenidate (MPH; Ritalin; 20 mg) 1 h before the start of exercise in temperate (18°C) or warm (30°C) conditions and cycled for 60 min at 55% Wmax, immediately followed by a time trial (TT; PLA18 and MPH18; PLA30 and MPH30) to measure exercise performance.
Results: MPH did not influence TT performance at 18°C (P = 0.397). TT was completed 16% faster in MPH30 (38.1 ± 6.4 min) than in PLA30 (45.4 ± 7.3 min; P = 0.049). In the heat Tcore was significantly higher at rest (P = 0.009), and throughout the TT in MPH30 (P < 0.018), reaching values above 40°C. Throughout MPH30, heart rates were significantly higher (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: These results show that MPH has a clear ergogenic effect that was not apparent in 18°C. The combination of a dopamine reuptake inhibitor and exercise in the heat clearly improved performance and caused hyperthermia without any change in the perception of effort or thermal stress compared with the PLA trial. This response may potentially increase the risk of developing heat illness during exercise in individuals taking drugs of this nature.